CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — High school wrestling is taking over the mat this week for the district meet, and one sophomore from Veterans Memorial is hoping to make it back to state.
Veterans Memorial's Abigail Mendoza wrestles with a smile on her face.
"When I'm pinning somebody or when I'm winning, but also realizing that I did something that I didn't know I could do," Abigail Mendoza, Veterans Memorial sophomore wrestler, said.
Mendoza started wrestling at 5-years-old.
"Always been a happy kid," Ed Arvin, Veterans Memorial Wrestling Coach, said. "She loves what she's doing. She loves wrestling and that's one of the reasons why she's good at it."
Mendoza's passion for the mat makes her a great leader, even as a sophomore.
"When the athletes are doing that, your whole team gets better," Arvin said.
Ed Arvin has guided the Eagles since 2015, but he also has help from one of his former wrestlers when he coached at Ray, Mendoza's mother.
"She knows what I need to work on and sees it every single day like at practice or in the weight room or in the mat room," Mendoza said.
Janelly was the first female from Corpus Christi to wrestle in the UIL State Championships.
"Yeah we watch a lot of wrestling and then we have our own wrestling mat at home too," Janelly Mendoza, Veterans Memorial assistant wrestling coach and Ray alum, said. "We try to separate coach/mom, coach/parent."
Abigail found wrestling through her parents, but for athletes like her mom it can be the medicine they need," That's why she got into coaching.
"I think I just needed it as a kid as an outlet, and I'm glad it found me," Janelly said.
Last season, Abigail finished fourth at the UIL State Meet.
"Here's a kid that has come up," Arvin said. "You know, her parents wrestled and she wrestled and now she's achieving at that upper level. That was exciting for me."
This Wednesday and Thursday, the UIL 5A district 15 wrestling championships will take the mats at Carroll high school. The top four finishers in each weight class qualify for regionals in Austin.