PREP WRESTLING: Miners Beall, Morgan ready to dig in against best in the state
When Nevada Union wrestler Amanda Beall is on the mat she is struck with an overwhelming feeling — peace.
“It may sound crazy, but it’s honestly peaceful,” the third year grappler said. “I don’t hear the crowd, I don’t hear the whistles around me, I don’t hear anything around me. I focus on my heart and my breathing. I see my opponent and it’s just them. I don’t see anybody else. And, I think the peacefulness of wrestling throughout the intensity of it is what I love the most.”
Teammate Mackenzie Morgan said when she’s on the mat, the pre-match nerves fade and a laser focus sets in.
“Once I step on the mat and the ref blows the whistle, I don’t think about anything else,” she said. “I’m not nervous anymore, all that goes away and I’m just thinking about the match.”
Morgan and Beall are the last two Miners left standing will represent Nevada Union at the CIF State Wrestling Championships, which get going today and run through Saturday at Mechanics Bank Arena in Bakersfield.
“These are the hardest working kids in the room this year and it’s showing,” said Nevada Union coach Bron Fariss. “Both girls trust the system we’ve installed here and it’s paying off for them.”
Morgan and Beall battled their way through elite tourneys all season and then the Sac-Joaquin Section postseason tournaments to earn their spots in the state’s preeminent high school wrestling competition. Beall, a junior who competes in the 137-pound class, placed seventh at the Section’s Regional Tournament and then took fourth at the Masters Tournament. The top six in each weight class at the Masters advanced to the state competition.
“(Beall’s) capable of almost anything on the mat,” Fariss said. “Her ceiling is very high. She has a lot of potential. She’s very strong, very hard working. She does a lot of work outside of the room to help her go further. There’s an old adage, ‘champions do more,’ and that’s what she does. She goes above and beyond.”
Morgan, also a junior, pinned down third place in the 121-pound class at the Regional competition and earned sixth at Masters.
“(Morgan) is one of those kids who has both the natural talent and is willing to put in the hard work,” said Fariss. “A lot of kids have one or the other, she has both. That allows her to have a really high ceiling as well and go really far. She also believes in what we’re teaching and pushes herself really hard every day.”
Beall said earning a spot at the State Championships is validation for all the hard work and sacrifice throughout the season.
“We came out on top, we surpassed everybody’s expectations and we made it,” said Beall, who first took up the sport as a freshman. “It’s really amazing and it’s an unreal feeling. The amount of pride and enjoyment that I have wrestling here and love and passion I have this sport is intense.”
Fariss said both grapplers have what it takes to be successful at the State Championships.
“The experience alone is going to be huge,” he said. “I do think they both have a good shot of doing well at this tournament. I would not be surprised to see both of them place.”
Even though they will be competing on the biggest stage in high school wrestling, both girls said they are treating it like just another tournament.
“It’s just another match and it’s just another tournament,” said Beall, who is making her first trip to the state championships. “Yeah, it’s on a bigger scale and the competition is better, there’s 32 girls in my bracket and I’m one of them, and that’s insane, but it’s just another match.”
Morgan added, “Just going to treat it like any other tournament. I’m not make it bigger than it is and not get more worked up than I need to be. Just treat it like any other match and just do what I’ve been doing all year.”
For Morgan, it will be her first time at the wrestling state championships, but it won’t be her first time competing in an event of this magnitude. She’s also an accomplished distance runner and competed in three straight CIF Cross Country State Championships.
“It does help with the pressure, because I’m used to the pressure of having such a big tournament happening around me,” she said, noting that the two sports are vastly different, though. “It’s not like running or swimming where it’s just one thing, everyday is something different. You never know what’s going to happen. It’s pretty exciting.”
No matter what happens in Bakersfield, Morgan and Beall have already made NU wrestling history. It’s the first time in school history the Miners have qualified two female wrestlers for the state championships in the same season. Former NU girls team grapplers Arleth Sosa and Faith Woodward are the other two female wrestlers to reach the state competition, making solo trips in 2018 and 2015 respectively.
“Whatever happens it will be a success,” said Morgan. “I’m going to go and do my best, not expect a whole lot, but I’ll do my best and whatever happens, happens. I’m still happy with it no matter what.”
Beall added, “It’s already a huge success for me, just reaching it, but if I can win a match that would be amazing.”
Both girls expressed gratitude for all their coaches and supporters who have backed them throughout their journey to state.
“I just want them to try hard, have fun and keep getting better,” said Fariss. “They’re both great people outside the (wrestling) room and I’m looking forward to the tournament.”
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email email@example.com.
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