By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

McNary sophomore Nicolette Parra went to the Sierra Nevada Classic in Reno for more mat time and to experience a big tournament with wrestlers from four different states.

She got much more.

Wrestling in a bracket with 10 other girls, Parra won the 135-pound championship on Dec. 29 at the Reno Livestock Events Center. She defeated Thurston junior Alaina Zamudio in the finals, pinning her in the first period.

It was 0-0 for a minute and a half and I just got tired of it and tripped her leg and instantly pinned her,” Parra said. “It was pretty quick. I wasn’t too proud of it. I didn’t feel like I really fought for it.”

After a first round bye, Parra earned a third round pin in the quarterfinals and then won by a 10-4 decision in the semifinals.

It meant a lot because I’ve never even placed in anything before and then this year I’ve been doing so well,” Parra said. “It means a lot and to stand on that podium, I was proud of myself.”

Parra began wrestling in eighth grade at Whiteaker Middle School. She won her first match, despite not really knowing what she was doing. But high school wrestling was much tougher.

It’s a lot harder now,” Parra said. “Last year, I had 30-40 matches and won like six of them.”

Wrestling on McNary’s junior varsity, Parra started her sophomore season 11-0 before losing her first match. She was 18-3 as of Friday, Jan. 5.

I think I got tired of losing and I usually go and work out after practice, too,” Parra said. “I don’t want to lose. I shouldn’t be losing. I’ve definitely gained muscle and lost fat. I don’t think I’m a good wrestler. I just think I have a lot of heart.”

McNary coach Jason Ebbs has seen a big difference in Para this season.

Between last year and this year, her desire to win has grown tremendously,” Ebbs said. “Last year, she was just all smiles and having a good time and good teammate and all those great things. But this year you can see a different tone to her. She’s coming around and she’s got a lot or promise ahead of her and just looking forward to her opportunities to keep growing.”

Para’s goals for the rest of this season include wrestling her way into McNary’s varsity lineup and then qualifying for the first OSAA sanctioned girls state wrestling tournament.

McNary took three girls to Reno. All three placed as Brooke Burrows took fifth at 100 pounds and Tia Vincent finished fifth at 170.