By JERRY HUANG
Not only was she picked as the Girls Wrestling Athlete of the Week by OC Varsity in her junior season, senior Lorena Egea won first in CIF in the 2016-2018 season and second in Masters. These accomplishments would not have been possible without Egea’s hard work, dedication and experience. “I got into wrestling sophomore year, mostly because of my judo background. I’ve been practicing judo since I was 6 years old, and because they are similar sports in some ways, I thought they could complement each other,” Egea said.
Being a female wrestler has not always been easy for Egea. “When I started wrestling, being a female forced me to work harder to prove myself,” she mentioned. “However, now it’s something that sets me apart from my teammates and competitors.”
For Egea, her judo background has given her both strengths and weaknesses on the mat. “Although it is mostly advantageous, relying on my judo background too much has often been a setback,” said Egea. “As I progress to higher level competition, my opponents often times know what I am known for, which makes the match more difficult for me.”
When it comes to wrestling, Egea shared that Coach Matt is her biggest inspiration. “He has coached me since I started wrestling and helped me reach my potential, especially last year through my journey towards State,” she added. “He can be a very strict coach, but also knows how to make wrestling something I look forward to.”
Team Captain senior Nathan Ohashi says that “Lorena is very motivated to do well this season, and in CIF to hopefully go to state.” He continued mentioning that, “During competitions, she is super determined and during practice, and she is someone who can be asked by the lower levels for help and advice.”
Despite Egea’s success, she mentioned that she will not continue her wrestling career in college. “Although it is growing, female wrestling is still not a popular sport and most colleges don’t offer it for a paying scholarship,” Egea said. “However, I hope to join clubs or continue to practice either judo or wrestling outside of college as a hobby.”