Lilly Freitas (150) of Pitman High is a two-time, back-to-back CIF State Champion after she closed out another undefeated season for the Pride this past weekend from Mechanics Bank Arena in Bakersfield where she won out the bracket with five straight pins.
“It felt amazing… at first it was like wow; I really just did that. I am really competitive, but right after the first state title and second I couldn't believe it, and once I realized it, and went in and hugged my mom and coach and celebrated,” said Freitas.
Last year Freitas made history by becoming the first Pride state champion ever, and this year she did it again, by becoming the first ever back-to-back and two-time state champion.
This marks two straight undefeated seasons for Freitas who went 39-0 last year and then 24-0 this year, including 23 wins via pin.
“This was definitely a goal. I have been expecting this all year,” said Freitas. “I just wanted to top it but unfortunately I didn't get champions of champions but I will just come back next year for it hopefully. Honestly, I just know I go out there and know anything can happen and put it out on the mat and come out with first place again. It is just amazing and to think I have two medals.”
“She is pretty special… She is an experienced wrestler,” said Pitman head coach Adam Vasconcellos. “She is the best girl wrestler around. She is ahead of her time, ahead of the curve, everyone is catching up, she is setting the trend.”
Her work ethic is commendable and matches her competitive drive. She has achieved more than any other Pride wrestler ever has.
“Since I was little, I made a system where school and wrestling are important and I have to get them done. Sometimes you have to put friends to the side,” said Freitas. “My mom and dad really motivated me like that. I always went to big tournaments and kept up with schoolwork and had friends, but I had to learn to balance everything.”
On the mat, Freitas thrives in ways that many wish they could.
Girls wrestling looks to be attracting the same attention in the area, not just Freitas, but plenty of other local wrestlers, that include four-time state medalist, Hailey Ward (101) of Turlock High.
Freitas also had Pride teammates Lilly Avalos (106) and Alana Ontiveros (137) compete at state with Avalos earning fourth place.
As a team, Pitman girls took third at state — with only three wrestlers.
“I think they work really hard and deserve it definitely. We got 3rd as a team for girls, and that is pretty amazing with only three people,” said Freitas.
Freitas made easy work of her five matches at State.
She went a staggering 5-0, and spent five minutes and four seconds on the mat. Each period is two minutes.
Her final match on Saturday night was her longest match of the day that went into the start of the second period.
Freitas pinned Hannah Ricioli after just three minutes and 24 seconds.
She has lofty goals when it comes to wrestling and she is getting there.
“I think she enjoys winning and getting better, and at the end, she is trying to get her school paid for and be debt free and she knows how important school is and is a very focused individual,” said Vasconcellos. “She has made history twice in a row and she is on a grueling schedule. She went to Sweden to compete for the world team in the middle of the season. The amount of time she wrestlers, she has above 4.0, she can travel, keep grades up, it takes a special person… She got that mamba mentality and traveling to Bulgaria as well since she was world member, she represented our country this summer, and then went to Sweden three weeks ago and in Arizona three weeks and doing training camp and traveling everywhere since she is the world team member representative.”
Freitas is the best in the country at her weight class at the moment, but she always stays hungry and humble, knowing anything can happen on any given day.
She competed on the World Team this past year, would like to make the team again. It will be challenging, but not impossible for the back-to-back California State Wrestling Champion.
“I know she wants to be top three in the world for world championships, that is what is in the back of her head, trying to be top 3 in the world,” said Vasconcellos. “She is going to do everything to give herself the best shot, anything can happen on any given day and will do everything she can to put herself in the best situation.”
Freitas had to win both USA girls Folkstyle National and Women’s Cadet Junior and 21 Under Freestyle World Trials to get on the World Team.
This next year, she intends to do the same.
“I really want to place at Worlds, I didn’t place last year, so hopefully I will place this year,” Freitas added. “I want to win Folkstyle and Freestyle Nationals, last year I didn't do Folkstyle, but I want to repeat my Cadet Freestyle Nationals title so I could compete on the World Team.”