ASHLAND, Ore. — It seems anytime a challenge is thrown their way, the women's wrestling team finds a way to make a positive out of it. When contact wasn't allowed at practices, the team worked out on the turf field at Raider Stadium. When they couldn't practice until under a month before the national tournament, they produced a national title winner.
All that adversity has led to one place: two Raiders women wrestlers going to the Olympic trials.
It's been a long, laborious road, but Sienna Ramirez and Esthela Trevino walked it and came out better for it. They will both be heading to Fort Worth, Texas, to wrestle for a spot on the US Olympic Team.
"I think it's a really cool opportunity. It's kind of surreal," Trevino, a 13-seed in the 50-kilogram weight class, told NewsWatch 12 Sports. "It hasn't really clicked like we're going into the trials."
Trevino had already qualified for the trials this season, but after Ramirez won her class at the NAIA National tournament, she also qualified for the trials. Wrestling head coach Joel Gibson said he believes this is the first time an SOU wrestler has ever gone to the Olympic trials.
"I think it shows, you know, really how, how talented our team is," Gibson said.
The on and off-again nature of the preseason during the pandemic forced some changes in their program. Some might have found it difficult to overcome and compete at a high level, but for Ramirez, it seemed to take all the pressure away and allow her to wrestle freer. She used that new mindset to earn her first national title.
"Being able to eliminate all those competitions and meets and stuff, and just being there to grind and just get in shape; that was really fun," Ramirez said. "It turned things around for me personally."
The Olympic trials start Friday. Ramirez will wrestle in the 68-kilogram weight class as an 8-seed.
"I just want to be able to leave knowing that I wrestled to the best of my abilities," Ramirez said. "And then just being able to compete and watch those high-level athletes. Like these are Olympic athletes that will be going to Tokyo."