Selma High’s Wrestling Team Recognizes State Champion Participants


Ani Arias holds her opponent in a lock hold.

Denise Venegas, Reporter/Photo Editor

On February 24, 2022, the Selma High wrestling team sent four boys and four girls to the state tournament at East Bakersfield High. Out of the eight total wrestlers, three placed in their weight divisions. In 7th place, weighing at 113 pounds was sophomore Damian Alvarez and at 138 pounds, Kemo Leia placed 4th. A huge recognition goes to junior, Arieana (Ani) Arias who won the title of state champion at 116 pounds!

“After not being able to compete at state for two years, this was so exciting,” mentioned Coach Johnny Platas. “I expected high things from my wrestlers and they did not disappoint.” As a former Selma High wrestler, Johnny Platas pursues his dedication to the sport by leading these athletes to victorious achievements in the state championships.

“It feels like a dream come true! It was an amazing feeling to be able to bring a title home for my school,” exclaims state champion, Ani. “I owe it all to my parents’ sacrifices and my coaches for believing in me along the way.” Proud of her accomplishments, Ani continues to push forward in her diligence to make up for the two years she wasn’t able to wrestle due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It took these wrestlers long hours of hard work and dedication to qualify for the state championship and it truly shows. The wrestling season came to an end this February. However, various wrestlers continue to practice in the MPR afterschool to enhance their skills.

“It was a bit challenging to put in the work three times a day while still dealing with school work, but it was all worth it,” confesses Damian Alvarez. These athletes are recognized for their efforts in school as well as on the mat. Though not every wrestler placed in the finals, Selma High congratulates them for qualifying in the state championship.

“I’m proud of the effort I put in, and all the hard work that paid off as much as it could in the end,” says Kemo Leia. 

It was a busy three days at the Bakersfield tournament, each day fueling the wrestlers with more and more anticipation. Though the athletes wrestled in different weight classes, they each put in the effort to move up in their divisions.

“None of this would have been possible without their passion for the sport, along with long hours of sweat, blood, and tears,” states Coach Platas. 

The eight wrestlers that qualified for state represented Selma High astonishingly. Their months of endurance paid off once they were out on the mats. Again, congratulations to Ani Arias for bringing victory to Selma High.