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Lakewood grad wins wrestling championship
MARYSVILLE — Christina Ordonez started wrestling in her junior year at Lakewood High School and, this spring, the LHS Class of 2009 alum saw her five years of hard work in the field pay off.
Ordonez won First-Place All-American at 159 pounds in the National College Women’s Wrestling Association National Championships in Daytona Beach, Fla., from March 8-10.
“There was a total of 40 girls at the tournament, and only three in my weight class,” said Ordonez, currently a student at Central Washington University in Ellensburg. “I only had two matches.”
Although she’s modest about her successes, Ordonez has devoted a great deal of effort and countless hours to training and competing.
“A friend of mine got into it because it seemed like a great way to get into really good shape,” Ordonez said, before laughing, “Of course, you wind up in a little worse shape after your season, when you’re eating as much as you were during the season.”
Ordonez described strength as one of her assets as a wrestler, both at LHS and at Jamestown College in North Dakota, which she attended before going to CWU.
“I like wrestling because you can work hard and see improvement within a couple of weeks,” Ordonez said. “My techniques and habits have changed as I’ve chosen to work on different areas.”
While Ordonez picked up what she called “bread and butter” techniques, such as arm-bars and pinning, at Lakewood, she believes the much more valuable gift that her years of wrestling for Lakewood gave her was confidence.
“It taught me the right mentality,” said Ordonez, who won a state championship in her second year of wrestling for Lakewood. “If you’re going up against someone who doesn’t think they’re going to lose, you’ll have a hard time beating them, because they’ve got that fight in them.”
Aside from the days when she’s been home from school, Ordonez’s schedule from September of last year up to the NCWWA National Championships in March has been a near-constant series of practices and matches, as well as weightlifting three times a week during the quarter leading up to her trip to Daytona Beach.
“Wrestling against some of the big names in college wrestling as a freshman benefited me, I think,” said Ordonez, who’s part of a women’s wrestling club at CWU, but was a member of the school team at Jamestown, which offered it as a varsity sport. “Wrestling has definitely been an experience. It’s the best choice I ever made. I’m still building my skills, but I’m happy to be good.”
Ordonez encouraged other young women to look into wrestling, since women’s wrestling programs are on the grow on many college campuses.
“You get to travel and bond with your teammates,” Ordonez said. “I can’t describe the feeling of sisterhood that you get from it.”