Pitman Presents: The Four State Championship Wrestlers 

Nathalie Hernandez (12th), Editor-in-Chief

Pitman High School is proud to have four special students who proudly represented the Pride at the 2020 CIF State Wrestling Tournament. Two Pitman male wrestlers, and two female wrestlers placed at State!  Four medals were brought home to the Pitman Pride by these four students: Juan Mora (11) who placed 5th in State, Kendall La Rosa (12) who placed 4th in State, Lilly Avalos (9) who placed 4th in State and Lilly Freitas (10) who placed (1) as State Champion. 


Lilly Freitas, a sophomore at Pitman High School made history once again being the first back to back two- time state Champion! It is such a great accomplishment at such a young age, for Lilly Freitas to have achieved the title of State Champion (once again), here are a few of her words on behalf of her honored accomplishments. 


How long have you been wrestling for?


“This is my eighth year.”


How does it feel to be State Champion?

“It feels pretty good, especially doing it again this year, I hope to do it like next year, and the year after, so four times.”


When asked how her dedication and practice led her to the State Championship she said, “I had great practice partners and coach Adam Vascellanos and Coach Clementi really pushed me to my limits as well as my parents.”


Freitas says she feels great to be representing Pitman and she wants to give a big thank you to her coaches, classmates, and teachers and to everyone who helped her out. Meanwhile, she’s thankful for those who helped her out, and worked with her to keep up with her academics when she had to miss school.


A message Lilly wants to give to other girls for being a female wrestler is, “You should definitely try it out. It changed my life, it is really fun.”


Juan Mora is a junior at Pitman High School who also made it to the State Wrestling tournament, and placed fifth.


How long have you been wrestling for?


“I’ve been wrestling since second grade.”


How do you feel about having placed 5th in State?


“ I feel satisfied and unsatisfied at the same time as I kind of underachieved what I set out and worked for, but I have one more year to go back and do what I feel is pleasing to me which is first place obviously so I have one more year to achieve that goal.”


How much work preparation does it take to go to State?


“Work and preparation makes me work all year round, I don’t take long breaks, as I’m starting, I don’t stop at all. I have another tournament this weekend. So it’s an all year round thing for me. I do it every day so it’s not really a hassle or bug for me, it’s all there in my schedule.”


Is there anyone you’d like to thank a family member, a coach, anyone in particular who helped you get to where you are today?


“I’d like to thank God for giving me the opportunity to go out there and compete, and blessing me with the talents that I’ve had, obviously thank my family, my mom and everyone who’s been there with me getting to the State meet….”  I’ve come a long way from where we’ve [started]. I’d like to thank my coaches Coach V., Kody, Matt, Coach Clementi and everyone who’s helped me. I have one more year with them and I will always keep them in mind.” 


Another successful female student in this wrestling tournament is Lilly Avalos, a freshmen, who has competed and has placed fourth in State.


How long have you been wrestling for?


“For about five years.”


How do you feel to have placed 4th place in State?


 “I feel like it was a big accomplishment most definitely, and that I’ve trained hard to get here and I’ll continue training to possibly place higher next year.”


What do your coaches say to you before a match?


“They tell us to go out there and give it our all, and use everything that we’ve worked on and learned throughout the year.”


Lilly Avalos’ special message she’d like to share with others is: “Most definitely that wrestling has helped me a lot and it is good to know, and I encourage more people especially girls, out there to do it.”

Avalos says she’s glad to have come this far and she’s had fun wrestling.


Kendall La Rosa is a senior who placed 4th in State.


How long have you been wrestling for?


“I’ve been wrestling for about 14 years now, my first year was when I was four years old.”


How do you feel about having placed 4th in State?


“I feel really awesome of course my end goal was to be a State Champion, and I came out short of that, but I am the first one in my family to ever place at State. So to achieve that goal it is awesome, and it’s been a long time coming to place at the State tournament and I am satisfied but also know that the next level in college is tough and hard but I am ready to take on that challenge.”


How did you prepare for the State Tournament?


“I’ve been preparing for this my whole life. Ever since I was four my goal was State, all the hard work built up from there. I mean all the four AM workouts and staying up late at night wrestling with my brother, I mean it all just came down to it all the time.”


Kendall La Rosa would like to give a special message, “I really want to take time to appreciate my family who supported me, my mom and dad, my little brother Connor and my older brother Joseph, and my coaches-Coach Vascellanos and Coach Frank Clementi who have helped me along this journey; I wouldn’t be able to do it without them.”


Four individuals who have stood out, with their hard work and dedication with hours of practice on the mat and for some years of dedication it all has paid off. Congratulations to these four special students: Lilly Freitas, Juan Mora, Lilly Avalos and Kendall La Rosa! 


A big thank you and congratulations to the families of the wrestlers and to the wrestling coaches of these four Pitman wrestlers and champions: Adam Vascallenos, Frank Clementi, Dylan Furtado, and Christian Vazquez. Never settle, Never Quit Wrestlers, Roll Pride!


Here are the highlights from State Wrestling Tournament:


Final Round: https://youtu.be/Qc0BC8FvYjI

3rd Day: https://youtu.be/V_uso0jf-xA

2nd Day: https://youtu.be/WahdlrMxsqE

1st Day: https://youtu.be/1hfpDCw0bX4


Lilly Freitas – State Champion

Lilly Avalos – 4th place in State

Kendall LaRosa – 4th place in State

Juan Mora – 5th place in State


Students who made it to the Quarterfinals (2/28/20):

Alana Ontiveros

Lilly Freitas

Lilly Avalos

Kendall La Rosa

Izzy Tubera

Juan Mora


Students who moved into the Consolation Brackets (2/28/20):

Tal Malhi

Isaiah Ontiveros