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Turlock wrestler shines in summer tournament
Hailey Ward 3
Turlock Highs Hailey Ward placed 7th at the USA Wrestling Cadet Nationals held July 14-22 from Fargo, North Dakota. - photo by Photo Contributed

Turlock High wrestler Hailey Ward continues to perform on the mat.

Ward recently placed 7th at the USA Wrestling Cadet Nationals event, held from July 14-22 in Fargo, North Dakota, and earned All American honors by the conclusion of the tournament.

“I am happy with my performance at Fargo because I wanted to place and that’s exactly what I did,” said Ward. “My favorite match at Fargo was my medal match because after that match I realized that I had placed in nationals.”

Ward (100 pounds), who placed 8th at State in the spring, has only continued to rack up her accolades after concluding her freshman year.

Ward was part of Team California qualifying at Freestyle State back in April. She also competed in the Junior division, where she was a match away from placing.

“This year has been big for Hailey, who took first at CIF Masters, eighth at State and seventh at USA Folkstyle Nationals,” said coach Lucas Solarez.

Ward also competed at Body Bar Women’s Nationals in Texas back in May and was asked to join the California Women’s National Freestyle team Titan Mercury Wrestling Club, which is helping further her training and providing opportunities for her to compete at high-level tournaments and camps.

“She is not new to this sport. She has been wrestling since she was eight and she is now going into her sophomore year at Turlock High,” said Solarez. “Hailey is only the second female wrestler from Turlock to become an All American and looks to continue her success this coming season.”

With help from Titan Mercury, Ward was given an opportunity to also practice and train with some of the best wrestlers in the country.

“Hailey’s training partners this summer have been the multiple California State champions, World medalist and college national champions Marina and Regina Doi,” said Solarez. “The twin sisters, who are seniors at King University, are ranked one and two in the nation. Her family commutes three times a week down to Clovis to take advantage of the opportunity.”

“I feel very fortunate to be able to train with the Doi twins,” said Ward.

This has given a whole new perspective to Ward, who is still humbly accepting little by little, just how talented she really is.

“I think the sky’s the limit honestly,” said Solarez. “A lot comes from her, but she knows a lot of moves and I have been telling her that she is good and if she keeps working hard and keeps dedicating herself, the sky’s the limit. Getting picked up by this team with Olympians really helped out and it’s a foot in the door.”

At the moment, Ward is focused on growing and improving in the sport, knowing every inch of improvement at this level is significant.

“My goals for this high school season are to be a State champion and for the next freestyle season I would like to be a Fargo champion,” Ward added.

“This year was a big eye opener for her being on a big stage, now she knows a little of what to expect next year,” Solarez added. “She is hoping to do better than she did and she will be the same weight class and wants to take over in the next couple of years. A lot of it is self-motivation, she wants to go to practice and work out and she wants to get better.”