The Boris Elementary School student became the first female wrestler in the history of Clovis Unified School District to win a championship at any weight class.
To recognize Gonzales’ efforts, the school planned a surprise presentation during its winter sports assembly on Friday, Feb. 8.
Just as members of the wrestling team headed to their seats following the wrestling awards portion, coach Ray Blanco invited Gonzales back to the multi-purpose room stage to honor her with a tribute video and shadow box containing three elements: a wrestling singlet signed by each member of the team, a championship medal, and photos of the title match.
“I don’t [normally] like being put on the spot like that but it was nice,” said the humble Gonzales.
The video showed the young wrestler winning the district crown in the 101-pound weight division after pinning her opponent — a male — in the first round of the finals back on Jan. 26.
Following the video tribute, Blanco delivered a light-hearted message to put Gonzales’ dominance in perspective: “Mr. and Mrs. Gonzales, your daughter kicked butt. I tried to take the names of all kids she beat up, but my hand got tired and I ran out of ink.”
In addition, Gonzales surrendered just three points the entire season.
“There was no one out there that truly even came close this last season,” Blanco added. “She was absolutely fearless. No one worked harder, no one was as committed as Bella. She could’ve been champion at three weight classes on that Saturday with one hand tied behind her back. She was truly unstoppable. Her determination, work ethic, killer instinct got her to where we all knew she would be — the top of that podium.”
As a sixth grader, Gonzales feels like her potential is just beginning to scratch the surface.
“There’s a lot of opportunities ahead, but I just keep my mind focused on one goal at a time,” she said.
Gonzales’ 2018-19 season will continue as she is set to compete in a few postseason tournaments next month, including the US Marine Corps Girls Folkstyle National Championships (March 21-24) in Oklahoma City.
Chargers experience upward trend
This season, Boris Elementary took a turn in the right direction.
As a team, the Chargers went undefeated in dual meets (5-0) before going on to claim the title of Clovis East Area champions, including a No. 6 finish in the district.
The upward trend is something Blanco is excited about moving forward.
“I would like to thank the coaches for their hard work, dedication, and intensity this season,” he said. “I truly believe we are on the right track. This team had an amazing season this year. This was our best finish to date with sixth place. They absolutely raised the bar for all of our future teams.”