By Brynn Gibson
Local News Editor
The following is an interview with LGHS senior Veloria Pannell, a key member of the varsity girls wrestling team.
Q: How long have you been wrestling, and why did you decide to start?
A: “This is my fourth year (I started in freshman year). I originally began wrestling because it was a winter sport that allowed me to wrap up Cross-Country, even though the end of said fall sport overlaps wrestling season a bit. Maybe [I was] a little skeptical at first, as the boys in the family were the only wrestlers I knew, but it has grown to be one of my favorite activities with a great community.”
Q: How is a typical match structured?
A: “A typical match is 6 minutes long, divided into three 2-minute periods. The first begins standing, and the other two are chosen by each wrestler (standing, riding on top, or escaping from bottom) These matches, though only 6 minutes long, get very tiring very quickly. Thus, we practice regularly and often intensely.”
Q: What does a typical practice look like?
A: “We usually start off practice with conditioning (airdyne bikes, jump rope, and planks) and warm-up/stretch. Then we drill a series or topic we have recently gone over, which changes from week to week. Towards the end of the 2-hour practices, we practice moving around in our athletic stance for 6-8 minutes to build endurance, and some days the entire last hour is “live” or realistic wrestling, which can also take the form of “ironman” where groups of 3-4 rotate one person in for a set time of rounds before switching to a new “ironman.” Live is where we practice applying everything we have learned so far against our teammates to make everyone better at offense, defense, and moving smartly.”
Q: What is your mentality going into a match?
A: “Going into a match, I think about leaving everything on the mat and giving it all I’ve got. If you do your best and still lose, rather than be discouraged, you have now learned more and have nothing to be ashamed of. I would also say to wrestle smart; it’s easy to accidentally begin a match aggressively but out of control which lowers your chances of your practiced moves working.”
Q: What are your goals this season?
A: “Though I haven’t wrestled yet this season, I am interested in wrestling at CCS (sectionals) and hopefully making it to CIF, the state meet. My goal is to win CCS. The highest I placed was 5th from two years ago. It would be awesome to represent the team under the spotlights during the finals matches, separated from the other ones.”
Q: Do you plan to continue wrestling after you graduate from LGHS?
A: “I would love to continue wrestling beyond high school as long as it fits in academic studies. I would also prefer wrestling folkstyle; there are three main types of wrestling: Greco-Roman (no legs, mostly throws), freestyle (allows locking hands on top, limiting 20 seconds of top/bottom), and folkstyle (the American and Collegiate which involves much more bottom work).”