Girls’ wrestling success assisted by junior star


Nick Wood

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT: Senior Olivia Moreno and junior Elayna McKinney spar during a Wrestling practice. McKinney started wrestling her freshman year of high school and has been an important piece of girls’ wrestling at Bowie.

Michael Vienneau, Print Staff

Tightening her muscles in anticipation, junior wrestler Elayna Mckinney stares deep into her opponent’s eyes. 

The referee whistles the match into play, and McKinney takes immediate action. In a matter of seconds, McKinney has bested her opponent, tallying yet another point for the reputable girls wrestling program.  

As a freshman, McKinney struggled with the mindset and mentality required to be a wrestler, but second-year head coach Tyson Dobinsky details how the growing wrestler overcame this roadblock.

“There was a lot she struggled with but helping her overcome it and seeing her step up as a player has been exciting to see,” Dobinsky said. “Her responsibility is something we struggled with at the start, but she has worked through it impressively.”

Building on Dobinsky’s comments, McKinney mentions setbacks that she has faced over her three year wrestling career that she has been forced to overcome. 

“At times, it’s been pretty difficult to pick myself back up but I’ve done it,” McKinney said. “It just takes some time to work through it. Everybody has had mental and physical setbacks, so they can support you through that. It’s definitely a tough mental sport.”

Inspired by her father, a professional Mixed Martial Arts fighter, stepping into the wrestling circle was natural for McKinney. With the help of her father that preaches a pro-mentality, McKinney often has an advantage on her opponents. 

“​​It’s pretty difficult having all that pressure,” McKinney said. “I’m always tired and I don’t want to practice but I just want to tell myself that I have to do it. My dad pushes me to get out of bed in the morning and I wouldn’t be where I am without him.”

Training for match days takes a toll on the body. McKinney mentions the work it takes to maintain and improve on the strength and fitness she hopes to achieve for her wrestling career. Additionally, McKinney discussed the importance of rest.

 “I lift a lot at the gym to gain muscle,” McKinney said. “Resting is easy for some but improving at wrestling is a lot more complicated than just training daily. After this season I want to keep lifting even more than I am now so I can make my last season the best I can.”

Even though each match is individual, each time McKinney battles in the wrestling cycle she hopes to gain points for her squad to lift them to team victory. Because of this, McKinney values and reciprocates the support offered by her teammates. State-champion senior Olivia Moreno applauds McKinney for the impact and influence she has on the rest of the team. 

“Elayna is the glue of the team,” Moreno said. “She’s very friendly and communicates all the time.” 

Additional contributions done by Cooper Ceniceros-Fike and Dimitri Silva