Zamora up for the challengeChristina Zamora has never backed away from a challenge.
By: Dave Selvig, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
Christina Zamora has never backed away from a challenge.
So don’t expect her to be intimidated when she squares off against some of the top women’s wrestlers in the country.
Zamora, the Jamestown College sophomore, is in Sioux City, Iowa, for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials, which begin today and conclude on Sunday.
Zamora, who wrestles at 72 kilograms, had to place in the top 2 in the final Trials qualifier earlier this month, she did that by going 3-1. The competition this weekend will be stiff, but she’s proven she’s ready.
“It’s exciting to get this opportunity,” said the Orange County, Calif., native. “I’ve been hungry for competition. I’ve been working really hard with coach (Tony) DeAnda.
“I don’t have anything to lose. I’m taking the mindset of it being a great learning experience, but I also want to do well.”
Zamora did not wrestle during the regular women’s season for the Jimmies. She instead red-shirted to focus on her academics, where she’s majoring in criminal justice with a minor on Spanish.
“The main point was I needed to get my grades and everything in order,” she said. “I was able to focus on that, but I also was working out and trying to improve wrestling-wise. It worked out pretty well, I think.”
Zamora was an accomplished high school wrestler in California, the majority of which came against boys. She practiced with and competed in with boys her freshman, sophomore and junior seasons.
Then in her senior year she was able to compete against girls and dominated. She went 22-1, winning the regional and state championships.
“That was a good confidence-booster. I felt like I was able to go to the next level,” Zamora said.
Her early years competing against boys certainly helped though, she said.
“Practicing with boys my whole life kind of toughened me up,” she said.
She also spent time training in Judo, but has excelled in wrestling.
She was a pretty hot commodity and had options when it came to picking a college. But Cisco Cole, who began the women’s program at JC, was very persistent and the overall feel of the campus helped, too.
“I liked the 13-1 (student-to-teacher) ratio,” Zamora said. “For me, that was appealing.”
Over the last year she’s developed a tight bond with JC coach Tony DeAnda, who is in his first season at the school.
“I’m blessed to have him. We’ve really been working hard,” she said.
Zamora technically has three years of eligibility remaining for the Jimmies, but she has other big goals ahead as well.
“In 2016 I want to be in the Olympics. That’s everyone’s goal and that’s what I’m working for,” she said.
That’s not to say she’s going to go quietly this weekend, but realizes it’s a challenging task.
“For a lot of these girls this is their last chance. They’ve been preparing for this, really, for their whole lives,” she said. “I don’t have that pressure, I can just go out and do my best.
“My mindset is to use this as a learning experience so that when (2016) comes around I’ll be used to the big stage, the lights, the crowd and I’ll be able to focus on wrestling.”
Sun sports editor Dave Selvig can be reached at (701) 952-8460 or by e-mail at email@example.com