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Chasing the Golden Trifecta
Posted On:
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
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Article courtesy of Kenny Cress, SM Times 1/21/14

Pioneer Valley senior Courteney Tompkins has had a nice high school wrestling career. Very nice, in fact.

She is a two-time high school All-American. She also owns a CIF Southern Section championship. Tompkins won that at 170 pounds her junior season.

What she does not have is a state or national championship. Tompkins is now going after those.

“She’s going for the trifecta,” said Pioneer Valley coach Kevin Ilac. “She wants to win the CIF (Southern Section) championship, the state championship and then the national championship this year.”

Tompkins is a four-year wrestler at Pioneer Valley. She finished second at the state meet last year and third at the nationals.

In her quest for a golden triple, “She’s right where she needs to be right now,” said Ilac. “She’s beating the girls she should beat. The real sign of how she’s progressing will be how she does against the real quality competition.”

Tompkins was 19-2 this year before the Panthers wrestled at the Baldwin Park Invitational last Saturday. She added to her impressive All-American resume with a first place finish at Saturday’s Invtational.

“Last year I progressed as the season went along,” she said during a recent workout at Pioneer Valley. “I had more losses at this time last year than I do this year.

“This year it’s going to be a matter of keeping it going so I don’t flatten out too early.”

She has made quick work of most of her opponents this season. All of her wins have been by pin.

“Most of my pins have come in the first round. A few matches have gone to the second round,” said Tompkins. The two that went to the third? “Those are the ones I lost,” Tompkins said with a rueful smile.

As for the vast majority of results that have been happier for Tompkins, i.e., wins, Ilac attributes a lot of Tompkins’ success to a solid work ethic and being exceptionally good when she has the top position on a wrestler.

The 5-foot-11 Tompkins “has long arms and long legs, and she’s very good at riding (working the body) on a wrestler when she’s on top,” said Ilac.

Tompkins views herself more as a technique wrestler than one who relies mainly on strength but, “It depends on the opponent,” she said.

“If I need to rely on my strength, I will.”

She’s also flexible when it comes to choosing the top or down position when the referee gives her the choice.

“I’ll usually use the top position, but if I’m behind I’ll choose bottom. It gives me a chance to make an escape (for a point) and gives me a chance for more time to go for a (two-point) takedown.”

Tompkins said she’s wrestled at weights other than 170 but, “I’ve wrestled at 170 all this year.

“It’s the weight I’m most comfortable at. I weigh a couple of pounds under 170, so I don’t have to cut weight to get there and I don’t have to wrestle at a weight that’s too heavy.”

The stretch run before the sectional northern regional, the sectional final qualifier that Pioneer Valley will host Feb. 7 and 8, is coming up.

Ilac spoke two days before Pioneer Valley was to compete at the Baldwin Park Invitational.

“Courteney has two more chances to face quality competition,” before the regional, said Ilac then. “We’re going to the Baldwin Park Invitational ... and to the San Benito Regional up north on Jan. 25.”

Ilac said, “Unfortunately the girl Courteney beat for the sectional championship last year beat her at the state meet. The girl was a senior, so she’s graduated.

“Facing top-quality girls before the state meet will give Courteney the chance to make any corrections if she needs to.”

After her high school wrestling days are over, “Courteney definitely wants to wrestle in college, and she’s already been accepted by seven schools that have wrestling programs,” said Ilac. “She’s just keeping her options open, seeing how this season turns out.”

Tompkins did get a taste last summer of the style of wrestling she would be doing at the college level.

“I wrestled for the California Freestyle Wrestling team and we went to Fargo, N.D., last summer,” she said.

“I didn’t do quite as well as I’d hoped to, but it was a good learning experience. I went about 5-5, I believe.”

Tompkins said, “They wrestle freestyle in college. In high school, it’s folk style wrestling. In freestyle wrestling, there’s no top or bottom position, there’s more rolling and there are two 3-minute periods instead of the three 2-minute periods they have in high school.”

She said, “I plan to study kinesiology or biology in college. I want to be a physical therapist.”

For now, Tompkins has some high school business to attend to — going after the golden trifecta.

 

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