Skyline’s Showers earns two medals in women’s freestyle wrestling national tournament
Taja Showers first began wrestling nearly four years ago, and last week she got to perform on one of high school wrestling’s biggest stages.
Showers, who is entering her sophomore year at Skyline High School, competed in the prestigious USA Wrestling Cadet/Junior Women’s Freestyle National Championships in Fargo, North Dakota, and earned All-America medals in both the Cadet and Junior tournaments.
“At the beginning when I started wrestling I didn’t expect to be at one of the biggest tournaments the United States,” Showers said on Monday afternoon, “and when I got the opportunity to go I didn’t expect to do as well as I did.”
Showers began the weeklong event in the Cadet Women’s Nationals on July 17-18 and placed third out of five competitors in the 200-pound bracket after going 2-2 over those two days.
Later in the week, Showers took fifth place among 14 girls in that same weight class in the Junior Women’s Nationals after going 3-2 in the bracket.
“I was the youngest girl in my bracket in the Junior division and Cadets,” Showers said. “There was a lot of older girls. It was kind of intimidating. There was a lot of really good girls in my bracket.”
Showers opened the Junior Nationals with a 10-0 tech fall victory over New York’s Ashley Toledo. In the quarterfinals, Showers pinned California’s Alexandria Goudeau in 4:45 before falling via tech fall to another Californian, Corey Burton, in the semifinals.
Another loss sent Showers into the fifth/sixth-place match, during which she beat Maryland’s Alyssa Marinaccio, 14-7, to cap her individual run in Fargo.
Showers said Marinaccio had beaten her in a previous matchup.
“I felt like I needed to redeem myself,” Showers said, “so I was really working toward being able to overcome my loss against her.”
Showers, who traveled to North Dakota as part of Team Virginia, said she earned a chance to represent the state in Fargo by placing third in the Virginia Girls Freestyle State Championships in Fredericksburg in May.
“I’d like to give a big thank you to everybody in the community that helped me get to Fargo,” she said. “I took donations from a whole bunch of people in the area and I just wanna give a shout out to them.”
Showers said her next major tournament will be in the Front Royal Rumble on Sept. 23, an early entry tournament for the Super 32 Challenge held at Skyline High School. She will then begin her sophomore season with Skyline’s varsity wrestling team in November coming off a freshman season in which she went 6-24 while wrestling mostly against her male counterparts.
“I didn’t win very many varsity matches as a freshman and I realize after this tournament I’m improving with my wrestling a lot over these last few months,” Showers said. “I’m excited to se what’s gonna happen this high school season.”