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Bruin female wrestler takes down competition

Sophomore Ashlyn Canizalez faces off against an opponent in practice. Photo by Kalei Owen.

Sophomore Ashlyn Canizalez had an outstanding wrestling season, taking fifth in the girls regional competition while being the only female on Bear River’s wrestling team!

Canizalez described how she performed this year and her accomplishments.

“I ended up winning PVL as an individual, so it went pretty well, way better than last year,” she said. “I’ve definitely grown as an individual. I took first at 113 at PVL, I took fifth at girls regionals, and made it onto masters, and I was one match away from going to states.”

Freshman Derek Warner talked about how he’s enjoyed being her wrestling partner this year.

“I’ve enjoyed it a lot, because we always wrestled together and she points out little tips I need, and I do the same with her, and she’s just really benefiting the team a lot,” he said.

Along with her teammates, Wrestling Coach Jeff Danieli described the trust he has built with Ashlyn this year.

Ashlyn is a joy to coach because, for the most part, she trusts me,” he said. “We have gotten to a point where we have a game plan, and her job is to execute that game plan. She does this without any hesitation. Trust between a coach and an athlete is a huge thing. She is a quick learner, so that helps as well. She trusts the process and is not impatient. I am very proud to be her coach.”

Canizalez explained how she developed as an athlete this year.

“I think I improved a lot, considering last year I purposely missed weigh-ins at PVL just so I wouldn’t have to wrestle,” she said. “I was so scared to wrestle people, and, this year, to come back and win it is a big improvement, especially being the only female in the league that competed at PVL.”

Coach Danieli talked about the competition Ashlyn faced this year.

“I think Ashlyn has improved by leaps and bounds,” he said. “Her dedication to this sport is amazing. Last year, in her first season, she did not make it out of regionals. Regionals is a tournament that brings all the girls wrestlers together for a two day event to see who the top wrestlers are in the Northern part of SJS section. Top six move on to the Masters Tournament, which puts the top twelve girls in the entire section together to compete for a spot at state. Top six move on to the State tournament. SJS is arguably the toughest section in the state for Girls Wrestling.”

Coach Danieli also described how Ashlyn has grown into an exceptional wrestler.

“So Ashlyn went from not being ranked in the entire SJS Section to being one of the top girls wrestlers. That is what I would say is improvement.”

Senior Aidan Smith explained how Ashlyn influences the team with her positive energy.

“She’s a real fun person to be around, she’s really funny, everything she does has to be exuberant and crazy, nothing she does is calm or quiet,” he said. “She’s just a fun person to be around in general.”

Smith also went on to tell about what it’s like to have only one girl on the team.

“I don’t really see the difference between Ashlyn and another guy wrestler. She’s kind of like one of the guys, to be honest. She talks just like us, she wrestles just like us. There’s really no difference, to be honest.”

Coach Danieli described some of his favorite memories with Ashlyn.

“I have a lot of memories with Ashlyn,” he said. “From her first match ever, which, I might add, was terrible, from watching her coach the athletes in the junior program, and passion for wanting to grow the sport of Girls Wrestling at Bear River and wrestling in general. But if I had to pick one memory, it would have to be that … She crushed her opponent in the finals match in, I think, less than 20 seconds. Then the referee stated to me that she did not have her mouth guard (since she has braces she needs to wear her mouthpiece) and I said I am sure we can do it again. The ref laughed and said, ‘Coach, that is exactly what she said.’”

Smith also described some of his favorite memories with her.

“Probably just going to every single tournament, she’s always funny and always encouraging,” said Smith.

As a final thought, Coach Danieli encouraged other girls to try wrestling with hopes of training successful wrestlers like Ashlyn.

Ashlyn is lonely in the wrestling room, and would love to see more girls enter the sport and come and join her in our wrestling room,” he said. “So, if you like to work out, and want to push yourself and get in really good shape, approach her and she will get you all the information about our program.”

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Bruin female wrestler takes down competition