This is how much Turlock High junior Alexia Moreno and Santa Fe High’s Tamara Tillman wanted a national wrestling title: In the second round of their 121-pound final match of the USAW Girls Folkstyle National Tournament in Oklahoma City, Okla., last weekend, the two bumped heads in an attempt to gain a shot at the same exact time.
It was like two rams charging each other.
The collision momentarily knocked down Moreno, who then gave up a takedown. But she didn’t budge, especially because she was in control of the match. She gathered herself and held on for the 6-2 decision, becoming Turlock’s first-ever national champ at the high school level.
Moreno traveled as part of the Turlock Wrestling Club.
It was the second time Moreno and Tillman met this year. On Feb. 26, Moreno also experienced a hard-nosed battle but managed to hold on for a win to capture a historic title in the CIF’s first sanctioned girls state tournament. So Moreno sensed that Tillman wanted payback.
“She actually wanted to come back and beat me and take it from me but it didn’t end up that way,” Moreno said, adding that Tillman is always a tough challenge. “I came in with the mindset of winning this year after taking fourth last year.”
Moreno completed the national tournament with a 5-0 record after pinning two opponents and beating the others by decisions. Her folkstyle record against girls is a perfect 15-0.
But that 15th win wasn’t easy, as Tillman is known as a determined competitor.
“I kind of expected her to either win or place,” said coach Andy York, who traveled with Moreno to Oklahoma, “but it was a sigh of relief once that (final) match was done.”
Moreno also went on to compete at the National Duals — also held in Oklahoma — as part of Team California, going 3-0 in a higher weight class, at 125 pounds.
Now, Moreno will focus on the freestyle season, starting with a tournament this weekend in Visalia.
Her performance in Oklahoma is just another highlight in an already impressive wrestling career, one that, York said, has already produced college scholarship offers.
At Turlock High last season, Moreno became the first female wrestler to compete at the varsity level to go along with back-to-back Sac-Joaquin Section Masters titles and the aforementioned state title.
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