Anna Resco was tired.
The jiu-jitsu specialist turned first-year wrestler had never competed in big matches on back-to-back days before like she did at the CIF-Southern Section Championship two weeks ago. But as tired as she was after the early rounds, the junior at Atascadero High School needed just one more win to make the CIF State Championships.
Her opponent in that pivotal match was the same person who defeated Resco by one point earlier in the season. Late in the match, Resco made a gut call.
“Ever since I started wrestling, I have struggled with stand ups and breaking away, but I chose bottom,” Resco said. “In the last 20 seconds, I had to stand up, and I did it. I won. It was an emotional moment.”
As the referee raised her hand high, Resco’s tear-filled eyes spotted her dad, Echo. She sprinted toward him, leaping a security barrier on the way.
“The security people were yelling at me, and I was just hugging my dad. It was amazing,” Resco said.
But the triumph was followed by some bad luck. Resco injured her elbow in the following match and had to forfeit the rest of her bouts. She finished in the eighth-and-final spot to advance to the CIF State Championships, which starts Friday in Visalia.
“I feel like I could have done better,” Resco said. “I was really upset.”
Atascadero coach Greg Hazelhofer said no matter the result at the State Championships, her improvement this season has been impressive.
“She came in not knowing much about wrestling, but she was real eager and a real hard worker and really coachable. It didn’t take much for us to get her in a position to where she could win matches,” Hazelhofer said. “Her top level, we are not going to see that for a while.”
Resco has been taking it easy the past two weeks to rest her elbow in preparation for her next big challenge.
“I feel like I am way over my head just because it’s my first year. At Masters I never saw girls that good,” Resco said. “But I am ready for state. I think I will do well and pull through.”