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Mabton girl brings home the gold

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After five years of hard work Desiree Zavala, a member of the Mabton Lil' Vikings wrestling club, has a state title trophy to go along with her many wrestling medals.

After two trips to the second place podium in as many years, Mabton's Desiree Zavala finally has herself a state campionship.

In her three matches at the recent Jason Crawford Memorial Tournament in Spokane, the 10-year-old Zavala wrestled one girl and then beat up on two boys for the state title at 71-lbs.

"I was happy," she said of her win.

Zavala became a member of the Lil' Vikings wrestling club when she was just five-years-old after hearing about another girl in high school who wrestled.

"She saw this girl who was still beautiful and ladylike out there wrestling with the boys," Jessica Britton, Zavala's mother, said.

The girl Zavala heard about also wanted to go onto the Olympics, something the young Lil' Viking also wants to do.

Zavala was the first girl to join the Lil' Vikings and immediately impressed her coach, Jesus Valdez. He said he usually can tell within 15 minutes if a prospective wrestler's heart is in it and from the start he could see Zavala's was.

"She's always been good but this year she really impressed us," Valdez said. "She stepped it up a lot. She paid more attention to the moves we were teaching and she worked harder."

After practicing four times a week for one and a half hours a day her results were two second place finishes, a third and a fourth place finish at the four tournaments the Lil' Vikings wrestled at this season. But it all came together at the state competition in Spokane.

"She has a lot of technical skill," Valdez added. "She does a lot of moves high school wrestlers are doing."

Her favorite move is the double arm bar, "Because it hurts," she growled.

She's not shy about beating up on boys her size and bigger. It motivates her.

"She makes a lot of parents mad because she makes their boys look bad," Valdez said with a laugh. "She's made a lot of boys cry."

Zavala wasn't alone in winning a state title. Three other Lil' Vikings also won championships.

Alex Pina (65 lbs.) and Max Ritchie (67 lbs.) took home state titles in the five to six-year-old age group. Gabriel Mirales (57 lbs.) also won a championship in the seven to eight-year-old age group.

Giovanni Trujillo (56 lbs.) placed second for the Lil' Vikings in the five to six-year-old age group. He was joined by teammates Robert Flores (102 lbs.) in the nine to 10-year-old age group and Carlos Rendon (130 lbs.) in the 11 to 12-year-old age group, runners-up as well.

Earning third place trophies for the Mabton club were Desanay Guerrero (91 lbs.) and Juan Ochoca (102 lbs.) in the nine to 10-year-old age group, and Vesente Mireles (88 lbs.) in the 11 to 12-year-old age group.

Britnee Guerrero (72 lbs.) earned a fourth place finish in the seven to eight-year-old age group.

The winter wrestling season is over for the Lil' Vikings but Valdez said Zavala and others will participate in some freestyle wrestling tournaments this spring.

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