Named Outstanding Wrestler in inaugural MIAA girls’ tourney

ANA VALDEVINO had a great freshman campaign for Wakefield wrestling. The Warriors are hoping her success will encourage more girls to go out for the team next season. (Donna Larsson Photo)

Published in the March 1, 2019 edition.

DANVERS — Making history once wasn’t enough for Wakefield wrestler Ana Valdevino.

The freshman, who had a terrific season wrestling with the Warrior boys, competed at the inaugural MIAA Girls’ State Wrestling Tournament last weekend.

Valdevino not only rolled through her competition at 113 and became Wakefield’s first girls’ state champion, but she was also named the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler.

ANA VALDEVINO stands above the rest as the most outstanding wrestler in Massachusetts. (Brendan Kent Photo)

Just how dominant was Valdevino?

“Well, she didn’t give up a point,” said Wakefield wrestling head coach Ross Ickes.

Valdevino won her first match 10-0, getting a pin in 3:25 over Chanda Wallace of Greater Lowell Tech. That sent her to the semifinals were she beat Gloucester’s Olivia Amaral 7-0 getting a pin in two minutes. In the championship bout, Valdevino beat Janieliz Cotto via pin in 2:53. She outscored Cotto 9-0 in that one.

“She wrestled well for us all season long and then she got a chance to show how good she is in this tournament,” said Ickes, who was also impressed with the tournament itself as more girls compete in the sport each year. “It was a really well-run tournament, hopefully it continues to grow.”

“I am so unbelievably proud of her,” said Wakefield athletic director Brendan Kent. “She works extremely hard and deserves everything she has accomplished. She is a great athlete and pound-for-pound one of the toughest student-athletes in our school. Most importantly though, she is just a great all-around kid. She is the type of kid that any coach wants on their team.”

Valdevino’s dedication to the Warriors and her success at the state tournament provides a positive influence not just for her teammates but for the next generation of girls who might be interested in wrestling but aren’t sure how they fit in. Valdevino has proved that the future is bright for girls’ wrestling.

“We’re hoping she paves the way for more girls to join the team,” said Ickes.

Kent also credits the coaching staff and entire Wakefield wrestling community for creating the type of all-inclusive culture that encouraged and challenged Valdevino to be her best.

“Our coaches have developed such an inclusive family-like atmosphere throughout the program,” said Kent, a literal truth for Valdevino, whose brother Joao, a sophomore, was one of the Warriors’ best wrestlers this season and was on the sidelines at the State Tournament cheering his sister on. “Every kid on the team is treated and valued with the utmost respect. The team has completely welcomed in Ana as part of the family and she has quickly become a fan favorite among our Wakefield Warrior parents and fans. Every time she steps on the mat, the entire team goes wild cheering for her. It is such a great thing to see. I would not be surprised if more girls in Wakefield start coming out for wrestling, after seeing Ana’s success.”