Earning a state tournament medal is becoming second nature for Allison Vazquez.
The Pioneer junior finished fourth in the TSSAA state tournament Saturday, earning her second medal in as many years. Vazquez also finished fourth in the 2017 competition.
“Allison had probably the toughest draw in the tournament. I knew her first opponent was tough. She faced three medal winners in her four matches,” said coach Matt Turner. “For Allison to battle the way she did shows her resilience, determination and toughness.
“I have coached many great young athletes and Allison may be on the top of that list.”
Vazquez had to fight her way through the back half of the bracket to get back into medal contention. She lost her first match Friday, falling to Montgomery Central’s Vivian Hurn – the eventual state champion – in the second round by pinfall.
Though a chance at the championship was off the table after the opening loss, Vazquez wasn’t deterred. She bounced backed to pin Angel Dyer (Union County) in the middle of the third round.
Back on Saturday, Vazquez was matched up with Science Hill freshman Carlie Brown. Vazquez used her experience and skill to gain an early upper hand, ultimately working to a pin just 1:26 into the match.
The victory guaranteed her a medal, but she had one final shot to improve on her performance from the year before.
Standing in her way of a third-place finish was Page senior Peyton Marsh, a former medal winner herself.
Vazquez got out to an early lead, plowing over her opponent in the late stages of the first round for two points. Marsh was able to even the match with just :05 left, reversing into top position for a score.
The tie was broken shortly into the second round, with Vazquez getting to Marsh’s back to earn two points. She kept position for nearly a minute, but was called for an illegal move which put the match back to the middle and gave Marsh a point.
Going into the final round ahead 4-3, Vazquez wasn’t able to break away from the opening setup giving Marsh top control. The Page senior worked to get shoulder control of Vazquez, ultimately rolling the Lady Pioneer to the mat for a pin with just a few seconds left.
While the loss was a bitter end to her state bid, coach Turner knows she’ll use it as fuel for next year.
“Her goal is already set – she wants to be Warren County wrestling’s first state champion,” said Turner. “Barring any injuries or unforeseen events, I think she’ll be on the medal stand. And, if I was a betting man, I think she’ll be on top.”