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The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

No coach, no problem: Wrestling team overcomes adversity

Photo Courtesy of Caleb Steele Photography
Sophomore Jasmine Cortez gets her hand raised after a match at the National Collegiate Wrestling Championship, Saturday, March 18 , 2024, in Shreveport, LA

The Texas State wrestling club overcame uncertainty from earlier this season after sophomore prodigy Jasmine Cortez traveled to Shreveport, Louisiana, to compete in the National Collegiate Wrestling Championship (NCWA) this past March.

On top of being named second in the nation at the Division II level and bringing silver hardware back to San Marcos; Cortez also earned All-American honors for her performance.

“I would say this one is definitely the biggest as far as achievements,” Cortez said. “It’s definitively the farthest I’ve gone as far as competing and the [highest] ranked I’ve ever been.”

Despite the success of Cortez, the wrestling club at Texas State experienced adversity behind the scenes to start its season after parting ways with its head coach last semester.

Aurora Emmons, president of the Texas State wrestling club, faced the forefront of the head coach’s departure and said it helped shape the team to be prepared.

“Be prepared for anything and don’t be too comfortable,” Emmons said. “These opportunities were not going to be given to us. We were going to have to work for everything we have.”

Emmons was part of the club for three years and took a higher management workload after the coach departed from the club.

A.J. Gonzales, a Texas State senior and member of the wrestling club, led the club through uncertainty and prepared himself to take on potential roles that were left in the absence of a coach.

“I felt like I needed to step up to the plate and coach,” Gonzales said. “Being a senior, I’ve had plenty of time competing, and I felt like it was time for me to begin coaching, especially since we needed someone willing to do it.”

Aside from losing its coach, the wrestling team also lost access to its routine gymnasium, forcing the club to find different spaces to train early in the season.

Cortez said after seeing the way the team persevered through this precariousness, she believes it helped shape the team’s mentality into one that’s malleable and systematic.

“I just wanted to show that we could still do it and we could still compete as a team,” Cortez said. “I was really nervous, but I wanted to just have fun with it.”

Cortez is also a coach on top of a collegiate student and wrestler. She coaches and leads her local youth program, Stingers Wrestling Club, in San Marcos.

“She’s setting an example for those kids because it’s a youth team, and she’s setting up a good example for the future of wrestling also,” Emmons said.

Overall, Cortez looks to build off of this season’s uncertainty and hopes to remain successful as she continues her collegiate career as a wrestler and youth coach.

“With all of the challenges we had this year, it was satisfying the way that I accomplished a goal that I had really been wanting to achieve,” Cortez said. “It encourages me to keep going and keep pushing and achieve more.”

In the end, though the coach’s absence could’ve caused disarray, the Texas State wrestling club bounced back with its willing and virtuous leaders.

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