LEMOORE — The Atascadero Greyhounds sent eight wrestlers to Lemoore at the end of last week to the CIF Central Section Masters wrestling tournament and only one, senior Anna Resco, advanced to State. Only a year removed from her previous trip to State, Resco wrestles in the 133-pound division and finished third at Masters on Saturday after going 5-1.
Resco placed eighth at Masters last year, even with an injury forcing her for forfeit the remainder of her matches, and just missed placing at State.
“I went to State and I believe my coach said that I was one match away from placing,” Resco said. “So this year I think I’ve got it in the bag.”
The senior wrestler has only participated in the sport she dominates for two years and builds off her Jui Jitsu background.
“I was doing Jui Jitsu with my dad off and on when I was younger,” Resco said. “And I was picking a winter sport to do my junior year and I decided to do wrestling because I was sick of the other sports.”
After just a few weeks it was obvious that Resco was going to be a problem for girls across the state.
“I ended up being really natural at the motions,” Resco said. “And I was really enjoying it and it felt like something I was meant to do. Then when I got on the mat with a girl I realized I could beat them up,” she said with a smile.
The senior standout spends her practice training with the boys on the team which she says gives her an advantage and prepares her for her matches against the girls.
“It seemed a lot easier, honestly, and I felt more prepared because I was on a boys team wrestling at a faster pace,” Resco said of her first time wrestling another girl in the competition. “So when I got on the mat with a girl I was faster, stronger, more violent.”
Resco can be described as aggressive once inside the white circle on the wrestling mat. She is strong, fast, and asserts her will against her opponents. At times Resco would wrestle with the junior varsity boys, sometimes with one of her female teammates [Allie Jefferson] before she got injured and eventually with Cael Cooper and Matt Macias, who both placed at CIF two weekends ago.
This season wasn’t the cakewalk that a returning state qualifier in only her second wrestling season would expect. Resco struggled in the early part of the season and sustained a pretty serious upper-body injury when she dislocated her elbow. The injury kept her off the mat for a while but physical ailment wasn’t the biggest hindrance in her return. As many athletes can attest, sometimes an injury messes with your head.
“I lost tons [of matches],” Resco said. “I was actually doing really bad during the season. I think a huge factor was that I was scared to wrestle because I dislocated my elbow at the beginning of the season.”
Even with the injury, Resco couldn’t stay off the mat. The senior continued to get banged up throughout the season until finally, her coaches decided to shut her down for a few weeks at the end of the season to ensure her health for the run to State.
“She kept getting banged up because she is hungry and just wants to work so hard, you know she is just a fighter,” Atascadero head wrestling coach Greg Hazelfhofer said. “So we sat her for a couple weeks towards the end of the year and I think that made her
She breezed through CIF two weeks ago finishing in third place before heading to Masters last week and again putting on a show only losing one match. In fact, only two of Resco’s six victims made it out of the first round without a pin as she charged to a third-place finish at Masters after entering the bracket seeded sixth.
Resco has the opportunity to be just the fourth wrestler from Atascadero to place at State since 2011. Most recently, Tannen Soojian placed seventh in 2016 and Elijah Jackson and Michael Clemmensen each placed in 2011 in fifth and sixth, respectively.
The senior will face a tough road to qualifying at State as she is set to face the number one seed in her second match in Bakersfield. However, the pressure of the moment only excites her as she sees the match as a win-win opportunity.
“It is a win/win either way,” she said. “Because if I win then that is fantastic, like who else am I going to beat? If I lose to her then I think that just up’s my game and my pace for the rest of the tournament.”
Resco will begin her final high school tournament on Thursday afternoon and will continue into Friday. Follow the Atascadero News and sports editor, Connor Allen, for updates on Resco’s weekend.