by Vi Burgess, editor-in-chief

The Roar spoke with senior Za’Maia Marshall, who placed first in the 148-pound weight class state wrestling meet on Saturday.

How long have you been wrestling for?

I’ve been wrestling since my sophomore year, which is now three years. My sophomore year, I qualified for state, but I did not place. Then my junior year, I placed fourth, which was a great accomplishment to me, but this year, I made a bigger accomplishment and got first at state, and I’m proud of myself. It’s still hard to believe, but I’m feeling it now; I’m sky-high now.

What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned over the years?

The biggest thing I’ve learned over the years is to never give up, especially if you’re down in a situation, like down by points in a wrestling match. Never give up and keep working hard and you’ll come back and win your match.

What impact has your coach had on you?

Oh, he’s had a great impact on me. I had so many self-doubts coming into wrestling–I didn’t think of myself as the very best. But having Coach Salyer as my coach, he’s brought so much confidence into myself, you know. He’s actually been a great coach [mentally and physically], he’s been a big help to me.

What’s the hardest thing about wrestling?

I think it’s the mental part, like I said before, I had so many self-doubts about me and wrestling. You have to be mentally strong. It’s not just a physical sport, it’s also mental.

How did it feel to win?

It felt so great, amazing. It like blew my mind. A 1-0 decision was not many points, but it still blew my mind, like I said, it’s hard to believe that I actually did it.

What advice do you have for other wrestlers?

Keep working hard, especially during off season, don’t slack during that time because that’s the time you can get better. I slacked in off season and I believe I could have placed higher my junior year. But keep working hard, keep doing what you got to do to get first at state.