The Cardinals walked out of York, Nebraska, on Saturday with the Nebraska Scholastic Wrestling Coaches Association girls championship.
“I think what this means for the community, for the girls wrestling team is, it’s here,” Bohnet said. “Female wrestling is here, and if you want to come be a part of it, the door is open. I hope this will exponentially grow the numbers and the interest in female wrestling.”
The Cardinals scored 135.5 points, edging Schuyler’s 129 points. They needed every point that they could, and it took a full team effort to do it.
South Sioux didn’t send a single girl to the first-place spot on the podium, but it didn’t just come down to one girl.
Bohnet knew that the consolation semifinals didn’t go as planned early in the day. The Cardinals lost six matches in the consolation semifinals, but the Cardinals wrestling coach had one more message for them: “You have one more match left.”
All six wrestlers — Gina Gonzalez (103 pounds), Selena Zamora (124), Yohaly Quinones (142), Jacquelyn Zamora (152), Melissa De La Torre (190) and Marcella Limon (240) — pinned their opponents in the placing matches.
A pin is worth six points, and added 24 valuable points to the Cardinals’ score. The Cardinals held a 6.5-point lead going into the finals.
“I knew what we were capable of,” Bohnet said. “We talked and we said we had one more match. All I ever asked is that you give me 100 percent effort, and we go 6-0 in the third- and fifth-place matches. We went 6-0, and we needed that. That sealed the deal right there. Every single girl wrestled hard and ended up with a pin.”
De La Torre and Quinones both placed third in their respective divisions while the other four ladies got fifth place through wins by fall.
Bohnet was fired up, especially, by Quinones’ win.
She was facing Amherst’s Taylor Roach. At first, Roach had Quinones on her back early in the match.
Quinones shortly thereafter turned Roach around and earned the pin at the 3-minute, 52-second mark of the match.
The Cardinals lose just one senior — Aridiana Zamora — and she was the lone Cardinals wrestler going for a championship spot on Saturday.
Aridiana Zamora was facing Wahoo’s Kaylee Ricketts for the championship match. She had won her three matches by fall up to that point, but Ricketts was willing to give Aridiana Zamora a battle in the title match.
Ricketts ended up winning the match 9-7 in sudden victory.
Ricketts led 2-1 after the first period, as she took down Zamora in the final minute, but the Cardinals senior quickly escaped for a point.
Zamora got a takedown at the 1:37 mark of the second period, but Ricketts escaped 13 seconds into the period.
The match was tied at 3-3 heading into the final two minutes.
Both girls scored four points in that third frame. Zamora earned an escape and a reversal.
But, the wrestlers needed an extra period to decide the winner.
Ricketts took Zamora down with 45 seconds left to take the match.
Even though Zamora didn’t win the 170-pound title, Bohnet said her impact will be felt throughout the Cardinals program for years.
“Her leadership definitely helped these girls become much better wrestlers a lot faster,” Bohnet said. “Having someone show them how they can be a better wrestler, that makes you a better wrestler.”