LAWRENCE — GLTS sophomore Kyianna DeJesus is hitting the wrestling mat with an air of confidence — and for good reason. She was recently named the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association state champion in the 205 pound weight class.
“We couldn’t be more proud of Kyianna in how she handled herself in the regular season and at the state tournament,” Athletic Director Michael Nelson said. “She exemplifies the core values we have here at GLTS and we’re very proud of her commitment to always do her best. This is a great accomplishment for her and for GLTS.”
On Feb. 23, the MIAA held its first Girls Wrestling Tournament at St. John’s Prep in Danvers, where female wrestlers throughout the region had the chance to either compete in the traditional mixed gender tournament or the girls tournament. Massachusetts is the 10th state in country to offer a girls tournament.
“Becoming the first girl in her weight class to earn this title is an amazing achievement, and Kyianna is not only making history, she’s unintentionally becoming a role model for other girls here at GLTS,” coach Juan Nieves said. “Our hope is that Kyianna inspires other girls who may be interested in a predominantly male sport to join and know that they too can excel with hard work.”
DeJesus, from Lawrence, joined the wrestling team last year and has excelled. At the competition, she opted to participate in the girls tournament, in the 205 pound weight class. The tournament was set up with two semi-final rounds and a finals match up.
Because of DeJesus’ strong performance throughout the season, she was ranked the number two seed and had a first round bye.
In the second semi-final round, DeJesus took down her opponent Jennifer Taverna, from Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical High School, in the second period by quickly pinning her on her back.
During the final round, DeJesus pinned her opponent, Shannon Mitchell from Chicopee Comprehensive High School, a minute and 13 seconds into the match. DeJesus finished by placing Mitchell in a head lock and bringing her to the ground for the win.
“To win it all, I had so many mixed emotions,” DeJesus recalled. “I was shaking. I thought I was going to cry. I felt like I could do anything. Now my goal is to stay number one and be a three-time winner.”
For the last two years DeJesus has trained hard to improve her skills — taking on her male counterparts with confidence and learning from every match. During the off season at GLTS, she trains with BraveHearts wrestling and is always looking to master new moves.
“She’s one of the toughest on the team,” said assistant coach Antonio Morales. “She never makes excuses, she’s always there, she stays hungry. That’s why she’s the champ.”