These young women are willing to take it to the mat for Nogales High School. Literally. They're women wrestlers. And at least one of them is expected to place in the upcoming state championships Feb. 24-25.

Last year, senior Rosalinda Guzman placed eighth in the first CIF sanctioned state tournament for girls. The 17-year-old competes in the 98-pound weight class and expects to do even better this year.

"Rosie has been ranked first or second most of the year," noted coach Victor Bonilla. "She won first place in the all-girls tournament at South Hills High over the holidays."

The petite grappler obviously enjoys competing in the rugged sport. We caught up to her during practice before the CIF tournament on Feb.

Women's wrestling team at Nogales High School includes Top Row: Tibishay Gomez, Rosie Guzman, and sisters Alondra and Citlaly "Cici" Becerra. (Photo by Gina Ward Courtesy of Rowland Unified School District)

"My older sister, Guadalupe, wrestled at Nogales High," Rosie explained. "So I thought I would try out for the team. I've enjoyed wrestling the past three years."

The wiry wrestler has to place in the top 12 to qualify for the state tournament. So Rosie was busy practicing her moves with the rest of the team.

Teammates include Citlaly "Cici" Becerra. Cici competes in the 103-pound weight class.

Last year, she qualified for the state tournament, but didn't place. This year, Cici hopes to place at the state level.

When asked why she chose wrestling, the Nogales senior said "I wanted a challenge. It's hard physically, but I like it."

As part of their conditioning, the wrestlers warm up with 50push-ups, 100 crunches and wind sprints. 

"I could only do five push-ups when I started," admitted Cici's sister Alondra. "But I've worked my way up to 50 now."

The 15-year-old sophomore says she used to watch professional wrestling on television with her sister. They liked the woman wrestler Lita the best.

Of course, high school wrestlers can't throw body slams or hit competitors with folding chairs, so they're a little safer.

"I hurt my shoulder a couple matches ago, but I've recovered," Cici said.

Rosie has stayed healthy, except for a knee injury. She practices with Tibishay Gomez, who also competes in the 98-pound division.

"I've also taken karate classes and wrestling is harder," said the 17-year-old junior.

The girls practice two hours a day. They compete on Saturdays. Wrestling matches consist of three periods of two minutes each.

While that may not sound like a long time, try throwing somebody around for a couple minutes.

"I think our lady wrestlers will do well. They have the toughness and techniques to compete at the state level," coach Bonilla said.

He emailed these results shortly before press time. "Well, Rosie Guzman took fourth place at CIF. Citlaly 'Cici' Becerra got a tough draw. She had to face the top girl in the nation in her second match and lost. Then she got knocked out of the tournament by the second seed," Bonilla reported.

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