Four Humble High School wrestlers recently competed at the state tournament held at the Berry Center in Cypress by virtue of finishing in the top four at the Region III tournament in their weight classes.
Seniors Larenzo Mays and Rodrigo Hernandez competed in the 145-lb. and 160-lb. classes, respectively. Hernandez was the Region III runner-up, qualifying for state in his final year. The Wildcat senior was 1-2 for the tournament. Coach Chris Kimes explained that "most wrestlers have to qualify at least once before being expected to win a match."
Classmate Mays capped his wrestling career as the runner-up in the 5A 145-lb. division at the UIL State Wrestling tournament, following his District 11 and Region III Championships. In his first match at the Berry Center, he defeated Julian Delgado of Corpus Christi King, piling on 21 points while Delgado only managed 7. In the quarter finals, Mays squared off against Tommy Flaherty of Prosper. The Humble Wildcat outscored his opponent 9-5, controlling the match from whistle to whistle. The semifinals set up a showdown between Mays and Jasper Davina, a sophomore from Amarillo Palo Duro. Mays advanced to the finals with a 4-1 victory, marking the first time a Wildcat grappler would wrestle in the finals of the state tournament. Christian Hernandez, from El Paso Bel Air, scratched out a 5-3 win over Mays, scoring a late match reversal to go up by 2. Mays was the only wrestler in the tournament to score on Hernandez, who blanked his previous three opponents 16-0, 13-0 and 16-0.
Joining the senior Wildcats were a pair of juniors: Nise Lane at 128 lbs. and Eloni Sowell at 185 lbs. This was the first year each of these Lady Wildcats saw action at state. Lane drew two tough opponents out of the gate, but knows she gained invaluable experience by competing at the state level.
Sowell finished her season by standing on the podium and being awarded the 5th place medal in her weight. Sowell, in her second year on the mat, was district champ and regional runner-up, losing only to the eventual state champion from Foster High, Chi Chi Nwankwo. The state meet pitted Sowell against Frisco Wakeland's Marissa Damattia in the preliminary round. Sowell handled her opponent easily, dispatching the Wakeland senior in 19 seconds with a pinfall. Sowell's quarter finals foe did not fare much better, failing to make it out of the 1st period. The junior pinned Frida Beltran of El Paso Andress in 1:44. Only Lily Mills of Canyon Randall stood in Sowell's path to the finals. Like Sowell, Mills had pinned her way to the semifinals as well. The Randall sophomore was able to get the best of Sowell, ending the match late in the third period with a fall.
After dropping the consolation semifinals in a rematch with first-round opponent Damattia, Sowell geared up for her last match against Kyra Austin of Frisco Liberty. The match was over at the 49-second mark, marking the Humble junior's third win of the tournament, all by pinfall and all lasting less than 2 minutes.