Wrestler Elena Cordova and her Mom/coach Teresa Cordova get ready to wrestle each other. Both hope to see the girl’s wrestling program grow. (Daniel Zuniga/for the Observer)
Some people think that girls shouldn’t wrestle because it’s a boy’s thing, so that’s been interesting — Elena Cordova
Rio Rancho’s Elena Cordova placed fourth, and earned All-American honors, at the 2022 USA Wrestling Girls Folkstyle National competition in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Cordova is an upcoming junior at Rio Rancho High School, competes in the 100 pound class, and looks to build on her big year.
This past year Cordova was a metro champion, placed second in the District tournament, and finished third in the state tournament. She was also recognized for having the highest GPA on the wrestling team, won most improved wrestler, and had the most pins on the team.
Believe it or not: This was Cordova’s first year in wrestling. Before wrestling she had multiple years of judo and jiu jitsu. However, wrestling did challenge her in many ways.
“In wrestling you have to stay off your back, and in jiu jitsu being on my back was a safe place for me,” said Cordova. “Also, wrestling is a quicker pace, and it is more mentally draining. “
For the upcoming wrestling season, Cordova is looking to improve skill-wise, and mentally.
The girl’s wrestling program is not as established as the boy’s so being strong mentally is a must for Cordova.
At a wrestling camp Cordova recently attended, a male opponent laughed at her before a practice match because she was a girl. And, at a parent-teacher conference, a teacher could not believe Cordova wrestled because of her ‘small weight and frame.’
“Some people think that girls shouldn’t wrestle because it’s a boy’s thing so that’s been interesting,” said Cordova. “ I have a lot of support though from my team, friends, and my parents.”
Cordova’s Mom, Teresa Cordova, is an assistant wrestling coach at Rio Rancho High School, and hopes to bring more visibility to the girl’s wrestling program.
“We are trying to grow the girls team, and there are a lot of opportunities for scholarships for the girls,” said Teresa Cordova. “The girls just lack things that the boys take for granted like changing facilities, sponsorship, coverage.”
The Cordova’s are looking to show tremendous growth this upcoming season, and encourage any girl to give wrestling a shot.
“When a girl sticks to it, I see a complete change in their confidence just the way they carry themselves,” said Mom.