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The Burlingame B

The Student News Site of Burlingame High School

The Burlingame B

The Student News Site of Burlingame High School

The Burlingame B

Aguilar and Jarrett make wrestling history with qualification for state championships

Junior+and+co-captain+Lauren+Aguilar+breaks+from+the+neutral+position+and+stands+guard+at+the+beginning+of+the+period.+%0A
Photo Courtesy of Josh Aguilar
Junior and co-captain Lauren Aguilar breaks from the neutral position and stands guard at the beginning of the period.

Last week, juniors Andrew Jarrett and Lauren Aguilar made Burlingame history. Jarrett placed third at the Central Coast Section (CCS) Masters tournament in the 190-pound division, and junior Lauren Aguilar secured the CCS Championship for the girls’ 120-pound division. In doing so, both earned state bids, marking the first time that Burlingame has sent two wrestlers to the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) tournament in the same year. 

Following their historic performances, Jarrett and Aguilar both headed to Mechanics Bank Arena in Bakersfield on Feb. 22 through Feb. 24. Neither wrestler had competed in the state tournament, where many opponents are nationally ranked, and every move matters. 

“At the state meet every match is tied, every match is close. You make one mistake and that can cost you the match,” head wrestling coach Ernesto Nuñez said.

But what was supposed to be a culmination of Jarrett’s hard work ended with an unfortunate break. He injured his arm and neck last week at CCS Masters. The pain never went away, so Jarrett had to injury default and was unable to compete in the tournament. 

“It was a painful weekend, especially for Andrew because he didn’t get to compete,” Nunez said. 

Although Jarrett was unable to compete, he was still able to attend, get a feel for the tournament and cheer on his teammate.

“I was pretty heartbroken. It was difficult not being able to compete but very eye-opening. It was kind of cool to see this peak of wrestling in California with some of the toughest kids in the country,” Jarrett said.  “It’s an honor and a privilege to even witness it. Knowing that I’m at that level, and I can compete with those guys is really cool, it gives me a lot of confidence and it makes me excited for next season.” 

Aguilar fell short in her first match but regained strength in her second. The matchup was a tough stand-off against Meagan Merryfield from Temescal Canyon High School. Even though Aguilar injured her head at the beginning of the match, she fought through the adversity. She gave up points late in the match due to a reversal and near fall, tying her with Merryfield. With thirty seconds left, Aguilar managed an escape and secured the match by one point. Her victory was a testament to head coach Nuñez’s advice: every point matters.

“I was battling through not just a physical battle but also a mental battle, because when you get hurt it’s hard to keep yourself composed,” Aguilar said. 

But Aguilar lost to her third opponent, eliminating her from the tournament. She finished the event with a 1-2 record in a double elimination format, which placed 16th in her weight division. Although Aguilar did not win, she saw the tournament as more of a stepping stone towards her biggest goal — becoming a national champion. 

“I didn’t get the results I wanted, but it’s a huge tournament. Just being able to go to this tournament with some of the best nationally-ranked wrestlers in the state is really awesome,” Aguilar said. 

With the wrestling season over, the team shifts its focus to rebuilding for next year. But given that both Aguilar and Jarrett will be returning, the Panthers’ confidence is high. Nunez hopes another offseason of training and preparation can give Aguilar and Jarrett the ultimate edge, and another chance to compete at state. 

“When you flip the coin, you think, ‘okay, they’re only juniors.’ We can still do this. Somehow this could be a blessing in disguise for them that just makes them more hungry for the offseason. Sometimes you need a little adversity to get over the hump,” Nunez said. 

Although the tournament ended in disappointment, the sheer fact that Aguilar and Jarrett qualified for the state championship reflects their work ethic.

“It is such an achievement to make it. It’s such an achievement to win CCS and make it to state.  I am so proud of our wrestlers for what we did,” Nuñez said.

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Sophia Puzon, Senior Reporter
Sophia Puzon is a junior at Burlingame High School and a second-year journalism student. She's thrilled to return this year as a seasoned senior reporter. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, playing video games, and most of all sleeping.
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