Rosemount Irish junior wrestler Ezayah Oropeza took second place in the 220-pound weight class in his first trip to the state wrestling tournament. Oropeza won his first three matches, including by fall of Jagger Schack of Osseo in the first round, a 7-0 decision against Hunter Koenig of Prior Lake and a 4-3 decision over Sam Horn of Eden Prairie. Oropeza then faced Austin Rendler of Faribault, and lost by a 3-2 decision to take second.
"I think I wrestled my best up until the finals," Oropeza said about his performance. "I don't think that I wrestled my best in the finals.I made mistakes and I know I could have done better."
Heading into the section tournament to qualify for state, Oropeza said he and his coaches had expectations already set.
"Well, going into the section tournament, me and both my coaches expected me to win the tournament," he said. "I knew I was going to have a tough match in the championships against the wrestler from Prior lake, but when I won I was thinking about how I really needed to focus and get ready to work because I knew the state tournament would be much more difficult."
Oropeza also had his own goals headed into the state tournament.
"Of course going into it I think every wrestler's goal is to win state," he said. "But what I really wanted is to get my picture put up on the wall in the Rosemount wrestling room next to the other place-winners from previous years.
As he stood on the podium receiving his medal and bracket during the awards ceremony, he said his thoughts were split.
"I was thinking about what I could have done differently in my final match," Oropeza said. "While at the same timing thinking about how I cannot wait for next year to come because I know what the tournament is like and how I can prepare differently in my senior season as well as in this off season."
Oropeza did take the time to enjoy the atmosphere of the state tournament.
"The experience was amazing, honestly, the way my coaches set everything up and had a nice hotel in walking distance made it really easy to focus on the wrestling aspect of things and forget about the rest," he said. "There wasn't a whole lot that was surprising about it but as a whole it was very exciting and kind of nerve-racking being in front of all the people."
Looking ahead to the off-season, Oropeza said it will be a spring and summer full of wrestling.
"Well my next steps are going to some camps this summer and trying out freestyle wrestling this offseason," he said. "As well as just working out plenty in the gym."
Oropeza also said the he would love to wrestle in college and he plans on continuing is wrestling career over the other sports he plays.