Porterville High School wrestlers

Front row, from left to right: Porterville High School’s Ariana Marquez, Kayla Flores, and Evelyn Guzman signed letters of intent to wrestle for the women’s program at the University of Providence in Great Falls, Montana, and Fresno State in early March.

PHS’ Flores, Guzman and Marquez to wrestle at next level

Three girls wrestlers from Porterville High School are headed to the next level, next season after signing letters of intent in early March.

Ariana Marquez and Kayla Flores signed with Providence, an NAIA program in Great Falls, Mont. Evelyn Guzman signed with Fresno State.

Ariana Marquez (123)

“Ariana Marquez has wrestled her whole life,” PHS coach Michael Ruiz said in an email. “Due to personal reasons she was not able to finish out her junior year but prior to that, she was a dominant force in our section. Placing both at RM Pars and at the Coyote Classic.

Ariana’s freestyle experience as well as her high wrestling IQ makes her a great addition to the college scene. Ariana’s parents have long supported their daughter’s athletic career and are excited to see what she does at the next level. Coming from a family where sports were a part of life Ariana and her family are accustom to traveling for sports as well as juggling school and work. Ariana will be looking to immediately break (into) the lineup her first year if all goes well.”

For Marquez, Providence was the way to go after receiving endless support from both her coach and the school itself.

“I could tell right away, everyone around you genuinely wants you to succeed,” Marquez said. “Signing for me was a big milestone in not only my wrestling career but in my life! My ongoing dedication meant something.”

Marquez added that one of her highlights as a wrestler was placing second out of 15 at the Coyote Classic and is looking forward to her future as a college wrestler.

“What I look forward to in college wrestling is the growth I’ll have as a wrestler going from high school wrestling to college wrestling,” Marquez said.. I’ve been a wrestler most my life, I placed 2nd at coyote classic my last season as a junior with about 15 other girls on my weight class.

Kayla Flores (130)

“Kayla Flores began wrestling her junior year of high school and was immediately a threat not only in our section but in the state,” coach Ruiz said. “Leading up to the Women’s Tournament of Champions in Rocklin, CA, Kayla managed to tally up a 12-2 record only losing to two returning state qualifiers. Her season was cut short due to a severe injury but as soon as she was cleared to be back on the mat she was. Kayla’s athleticism as well and her hard work ethic leaves a lot of room for improvement. Kayla’s parents bounced between gymnastics, tennis and wrestling practices just to support Kayla in whatever she chose to do. With the initial shock of how good Kayla immediately was it became a little nerve-wracking but both mom and dad have supported her throughout and see this as an opportunity for Kayla not only to get an education but to grow as a person.”

In her lone year of wrestling, Flores favorite moments were placing first in the Lady Big Kat Tournament, third at the Coyote Classic and fifth at the RM Parks Ladies Invitational.

“I chose Providence because I knew it was going to be a great opportunity in life that I couldn’t pass,” she said. “Things (that) I feel will make me successful at the college level is continuing to give 100% of everything; which includes practicing hard, staying focused not only on my academics but wrestling as well.”

Evelyn Guzman

“Evelyn Guzman would be entering her third year wrestling had there been a season this year,” coach Ruiz said. This soccer player turned wrestler not only managed to wrestle 35 matches in a year but was a consistent placer at tournaments. As of March 8th, Evelyn has decided to stay home and attend Fresno State University to be close to family. That being said she is one of the hardest workers and kindest kids I have ever got the pleasure of coaching and although she may have chosen a different path I wish her nothing but success in school and in life. Worth noting: Evelyn is also a 4.0 student with close to 1 full year of college under her and has yet to even graduate high school. A student who always does the right things and deserving of being highlighted. Evelyn’s Mom, Dad and Sisters have been a huge support system for her especially in times she felt she didn’t have anymore to give in wrestling.”

Guzman also visited Providence.

“It was an amazing opportunity to be able to visit a campus outside of California, it was not like any campus I had ever seen,” she said. “The staff and students are amazing; they really make you feel welcome on their campus. I enjoyed going to tournaments, my best memory would be the Santa Cruz Tournament. We had wrestled for three days straight, a home duel, then a tournament at Mission Oak and on the third day we wrestled at Santa Cruz. My body felt at its limit however I felt I did my best regardless and won matches against tough opponents.”

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