Senior Aaron Goldman and freshman Bella Burnworth competed in the state wrestling tournament, which was held on Feb. 23 and 24 in in Cypress, Texas. They advanced to the tournament by placing in the top four at the regional wrestling tournament.
Bella made Pearce history by competing at the tournament because she was the first Pearce wrestler to make it to state as a freshman. Bella hopes this experience so early in her career will give her more confidence to compete well at the highest level in years to come.
“My first time at state was very overwhelming, but it was an incredible learning experience and I definitely feel more prepared for the years to come,” Bella said.
After having few or no girls on the wrestling team at Pearce over the last couple of decades, the girls hope to grow their program. The team has three girls, Bella, Gabi Sanchez and Maria Lopez, who all advanced to the regional tournament by placing in the top four at district. The girls hope that their success will help the girls program to grow in the future.
“I feel that the few girls who were on the team were a great start for a hopefully much larger girls team to come,” Bella said.
The other state qualifier, Aaron Goldman, also made Pearce history by being the highest placed Pearce wrestler at the state tournament. Aaron has competed at the state tournament two times prior to this season, and he placed sixth last season at the 132-pound weight class and third this season at the 138-pound weight class. Aaron believes that part of his success this year was having prior experience at the state tournament.
“This year I was much more accustomed to the competitive climate,” Aaron said. “Realizing that state is like any other tournament was a real eye-opener for me.”
Aaron had a record of 47 wins and two losses this season and had 148 wins and 27 losses throughout his high school career. Aaron ended up taking third place at the state tournament and had to battle through injuries to his arm and back to earn his spot on the podium.
“The injuries happened at the worst time and I wasn’t able to wrestle for the past two weeks before state,” Aaron said. “But fighting through it made me a mentally stronger person.”
Aaron has the most wins in Pearce history. Aaron has accomplished many things while wrestling at Pearce, but he is never satisfied and always looks to improve. He plans to continue improving while wrestling at Wesleyan University next year.
“Just working hard has been my goal and it paid off,” Aaron said. “Although first place was my ultimate goal, coming back for third helped me determine to never stop competing”
Aaron has had a large impact on the Pearce wrestling program over the last four years, and his success and work ethic helped the rest of the team be successful.
“I always use the phrase ‘As iron sharpens iron, so does one man sharpen another’,” wrestling coach Mark Furgeson said. “Aaron has raised the level of Pearce wrestling to a higher standard. The rest of the team looks up to him, and I always knew I could count on him to show the team how to have physical strength, high skill and mental toughness.”