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Pelayo Hawks first-ever state medalist
CV senior sixth at CIF State Girls Wrestling Championships
Nayeli Pelayo finished in sixth place while competing in the 189-pound weight bracket at the CIF State Meet this past week in Visalia. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

Already considered Central Valley High School's all-time greatest female wrestler, Nayeli Pelayo added to her legacy by becoming the varsity girls program's first state medalist.

The 189-pound senior placed sixth at the CIF State Championships on Saturday in Visalia.

"I'm really overwhelmed," Pelayo said. "I didn't think I could do it. A lot of these girls have been wrestling their whole lives. It's only my third year."

Nayeli posted a 4-3 record at the Visalia Convention Center.

She collected wins against Antelope Valley's Hayley Martinez (decision), Alisal's Destiny Sanchez (pin), Beckman's Melissa Moreno (pin) and Golden Valley's Kayvette Osorio (pin).

She lost to Kelseyville's Jasmin Clarke (decision), Millikan's Sierra Adams Gregory (pin) and San Pasqual's Emily Velazquez (pin).

Velazquez pinned Pelayo in the third round (4:09) during their third-place match.

"There was a lot of pressure," Pelayo said. "I had to place because it's my senior year. This was my last chance. I didn't want to disappoint any of my teammates or coaches."

Pelayo assured herself a medal after upsetting Osorio, the state's second-ranked wrestler at 189 pounds, by first-round pin.

"My goal was to make it onto the podium," she said. "When I found out I was going to medal, I started crying. I worked really hard to get to where I'm at. This is one of my best achievements in any sport that I've played. It's still hard to believe."

A member of Central Valley's girls wrestling team since her sophomore year, Pelayo qualified for state three times and captured back-to-back Western Athletic Conference individual titles.

Nayeli's crowning achievement was bringing home a sixth-place medal from Visalia.

"I wanted to make history my last year at Central Valley," she said. "I had a great season. Our girls team won WAC. That's a plus, too."
Hawk teammate Brianna Quiroz compiled an 0-2 record while making her first-ever appearance at the state meet.

The 150-pound junior lost to San Dimas' Jaylene Tiki Jaime (pin) and San Lorenzo's Rachelynn Tritto (pin).