Imperial Valley Press
Wrestling: Local standout Savannah Gomez heads to Illinois
BRAWLEY – Brawley Union high Wildcat wrestler Savannah Gomez has signed a letter of intent to continue her wrestling career at McKendree University in Lebanon, Illinois.
Gomez will move on to the NCAA D-II program and compete in the Great Lakes Valley Conference come fall, but not without leaving behind a wrestling legacy for Wildcats to come.
At the top of Gomez’s list of achievements is a 2022 CIF California State Championship win in the 137-pound division, which led Gomez to become BUHS’ first female state champion.
“I am looking forward to the unknown in my future, what is going to happen, what my destiny will be; of course, I am in control of that,” Gomez said. “I am looking forward to the process of it, working hard, the sweat and tears, overall just starting the whole process all over again.”
As a sophomore, Gomez finished as runner-up during the 2021 state tournament.
“During my junior year, I set goals for myself and began going to, and winning at, tournaments I had never gone to,” the wrestler said. “When CIF came around I not only made it to the finals but won. It was a great feeling because all the hard work blood, sweat, and tears were worth it.”
Gomez started wrestling at the age of six with the Brawley Gladiators, closes out her high school career with a record of 108-5 along with being an 11-time All-American and 4-time CIF champion.
“I met [Savannah] when she first came into the kids wrestling program ... no one was coaching girls so her parents asked if we would, and we said ‘yes’,” said BUHS wrestling Coach Ray Leon. “Once I saw her wrestle, I said ‘Who is this girl? She is tough.’”
At the time Gomez was wrestling against boys, something that would not change until her teen years.
“I remember seeing her cry after her losses against boys, and it came from her desire to win,” Leon said. “She is still like that; all she wants to do is win, but her ability to work hard, work ethic and developing her physical talent has allowed her to reach these levels of success.”
In 2021, Gomez competed in the 138-pound bracket of the U.S. Marine Corps-USA Wrestling Junior and 16-U Junior National Championships in Fargo, North Dakota, which added another championship title to her list.
During 2022, Gomez did not slow down but added another championship title after traveling to Greensboro, North Carolina, and competing in the 2022 Defense Soap Super 32 Tournament.
“Reaching the next level is very hard to do, especially when competing against opponents, who compete in yearround wrestling programs,” Leon said. “But she is probably one of the toughest girls I have met, and whatever challenges are thrown her way, she finds ways to compete and be great.”
Gomez’s will compete is present at every stage of her career, so naturally, the future Bearcat did not let an ACL injury hold her back from competing and winning in the 139-pound bracket of the CIF San Diego Section D-II tournament this season.
“Coming into my senior year I was excited to finish strong, but things didn’t turn out that way,” Gomez said.
“I can’t blame anyone or anything (as) it is God’s plan for me. I cannot wait to get back on the mat and overcome this battle,” Gomez said, who also suffered an elbow injury her freshman year.
Despite her season getting cut short, Gomez closed out the 2022-23 season 19-0.
“It is great to be a part of the journey and maybe other girls might want to come out and try wrestling,” Leon said.
“Her moving on to the next level could encourage anyone playing any sport that competing at the collegiate level is possible,” he said.