Ironwood’s Emily Porras

Ironwood’s Emily Porras, middle, was recently crowned the champion at the 2019 Panhandle National Tournament in Amarillo, Tex., a nation-wide tournament comprised of hundreds of wrestlers.

Emily Porras left Amarillo, Texas, in late-November with the quiet confidence of a champion with more to prove

 Porras, a sophomore at Ironwood High School, was crowned the champion of her weight class at the Panhandle National Wrestling Tournament on Nov. 30. The tournament features hundreds of wrestlers, both boys and girls, of all ages spanning the country.

“I was excited, I wanted to cry,” Porras said. “And I did cry a little bit.”

She competed in two matches and won both of them.

“I was just hoping to place,” she said. “I was really nervous, because when travelling, it gets a lot more competitive. I was just trying not to be nervous and hoping to place.”

Porras is coming off a stellar freshman season. Her first year of varsity was also the first year female wrestling was an AIA sport. Last year, she was undefeated on the mat, finishing 39-0 in the regular season and winning the section.

She received a bid to the state tournament, but had to forfeit because she was “sick and stuck in the hospital,” she said. 

A year later, after laying the groundwork to getting to state, Porras is eyeing a deeper run in the tournament.

“My goal for this season is to make it to state and hopefully win state,” she said.

The Eagles kicked off their regular season in late-November.

This is just the second year Arizona has listed girls’ wrestling as its own sport.

“In the past, in junior high, I wrestled all boys,” she said. “When I would go to those tournaments, I got looked down on because I’m a girl. When I started competing, you get kind of looked down on and it’s like, ‘Oh, she’s a girl.’ 

“You just get different opinions. But now that it’s growing as a sport, the boys have been more accepting of us and there have been a lot more girls that tried out. The boys give us a lot more respect.”

She’s also enjoyed seeing the number of girls at meets increase, whether it be in Arizona or at the national-level.

Porras wants to continue wrestling after Ironwood.

“I want to go to a college in Oklahoma and hopefully wrestle there, and hopefully get a scholarship,” she said.

For the time being, she’ll keep her eyes trained on winning a state title while at Ironwood. 

“I want to start winning more national tournaments and start working a lot harder than I have been.”