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home : sports : huskie sports May 25, 2016

7/24/2013 5:41:00 PM
Lady wrestlers meet Olympic medalist at North Idaho camp
Left to right: Alysha Alegria, Tori Zambrano, Clarissa Chun, Elizabeth Rocha, Maria Aubrey and Phelicia Perez. Submitted by JJ Martinez.
Left to right: Alysha Alegria, Tori Zambrano, Clarissa Chun, Elizabeth Rocha, Maria Aubrey and Phelicia Perez. Submitted by JJ Martinez.
Erik Pague

A group of Othello wrestlers training in North Idaho College's wrestling camp expected to develop some of their skills with some tough athletes when they spent three days there beginning July 7. What they weren't expecting was to feel star struck when they got the chance to meet USA Olympic bronze medalist Clarissa Chun. Head coach JJ Martinez said it was quite the experience for Tori Zambrano, Alysha Alegria, Maria Aubrey, Phelicia Perez and Elizabeth Rocha to see how far hard work in their sport could take them.
"They got to see what Olympians go through," he said. "She showed us a lot of drills, techniques and moves she used so it was a good camp overall."
Lady Huskies also got to meet 2004 Canadian Olympian Lyndsay Belisle who is now an assistant coach for Simon Fraser University's women's wrestling team.
"It was a pretty good camp to have two Olympian girls in there," Martinez said. "Tori got to be one of the lucky ones to drill with her and show the other girls moves."
Martinez said his wrestlers didn't know who Chun was at first, but once she brought out the medal, they all got pretty excited and realized they were about to learn from one of the best.
"I don't think they realized who Chun was until we actually announced that 'hey, that's a bronze Olympic medalist who won last year,'" he said. "Once they found out who she was, the girls were fully onboard, especially Tori."
Martinez said Zambrano felt disappointed in the way her last season was hampered by an injury and that she's really looking forward to her senior season. He hopes some of the things she learned at this camp and from Chun could go a long way to getting her on the podium next February.
"She came back with a lot of new things and a lot of hard drilling," Martinez said.
Offseason training like this has usually paid off. Martinez said last year's state champion Allesha Reyes took her summer training seriously and led to her becoming Othello's first girls state champ in the program's history.
"We truly believe she would not have won a state title if she didn't wrestle all summer," Martinez said. "If you look at the past state champions from the boys, you'll see about 95 percent of those boys who won state titles wrestled all summer long and did not take a break. Statistics show that what you do in the offseason is going to pay off in the end."
Martinez would like to thank the Factory Pizzeria for their year-round support of the girls wrestling program.

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