By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Baya Austin becomes a state wrestling champ
Baya Austin
Pitman wrestler Baya Austin brought home a state championship in the 130-pound division from Bakersfield this weekend (CHRIS MORA@ChrisMoraPhoto).

Pitman sophomore Baya Austin stood atop a podium at the CIF Wrestling Championships for the first time ever on Saturday, becoming the fifth state wrestling champion in school history.

Austin first took to the mats Thursday to kick off the first day of the prestigious tournament, held this year at the Mechanics Bank Arena in Bakersfield.

A returning state finalist, Austin was questionably given the sixth seed in the 130-pound division this weekend. She immediately went to work in the Round of 32 against Westlake’s Mackenzie English, jumping out to a 13-2 lead before earning the third period pin. Later that day in the Round of 16, she pinned Durham’s Raeanna Halvorson midway through the second period. Come the quarterfinals on Friday, she jumped out to a 9-0 lead over Shafter’s Julissa Gonzalez before getting a pin just as the second period whistle was blown. On championship Saturday, she pinned Elk Grove’s Skye Schneider just 39 seconds into the second period in the semifinal round. She capped off her season with a title-clinching 7-0 decision over Gilroy’s Tamara Grace.

She made each match look easy, though she’ll be the first to say that it’s all the result of hard work in Pitman’s wrestling and weight rooms. 

As for those competing in her weight class for the next two years, don’t think that Austin will be relaxing. On Monday and Tuesday, she was already back to work, rolling with teammates and doing strength training. She truly believes that she hasn’t reached her full potential yet.

“I have a lot more left to prove,” she said.

That’s a scary thought for future opponents.


Age: 16 

Grade: 10 

Favorite class: Wrestling / PE Athletics 

Favorite food: Mexican food

Hobbies: Lifting weights, training with friends 

Favorite movie: “Rocky II”

Favorite color: Purple 

Favorite athlete: Vito Arujau 

Favorite team: Pitman 

Favorite music artist: NF 

Three songs in your playlist: “Feelin’ Myself” by Mac Dre, “Hope” by NF and “No Excuses” by NF 

I can’t live without: … Family, wrestling and food.

In 10 years, I will be: … Wrestling for Team USA, traveling the world and coaching, giving back to the next generation of Pitman wrestlers.