After a month off due to injury, Rock Hill wrestler places at State


Bronwyn Liber

After receiving their medals, Juniors Brooke Wieczorek, Masyn Marble, and senior Xavier Jukes smile. All three teammates made the podium, with Wieczorek placing fifth, Marble placing third and Jukes placing second. Wieczorek said, “I could not have made it here without my team and my coaches. And I’m really grateful that they were all here for me to help me get this far.”

Connor Fuxa, Reporter

The final win of her third wrestling season wasn’t a gold medal finish, but for junior Brooke Wieczorek, placing fifth at state wouldn’t have been possible without a shoulder injury that almost cut her season short. 

“We weren’t sure what had happened,” Coach Kortney Livingston said. “We believed that it was going to be a tear, but ultimately, the injury showed that it was where she was going to be able to finish out her season. So I can tell then we just had to wait and try not to push her and make sure that she was recovering instead of pushing her as her coach.” 

Feb. 17, Wieczorek headed down to Houston for the 5A state tournament alongside the wrestling team. While there, Wieczorek became the first female wrestler to place at state, placing fifth overall.

Brooke Wieczorek receives her medal from Coach Huey Huynh at State. With Wieczorek’s fifth place placement, she became the first Rock Hill female wrestler to place at state. “I think that it is very exciting that she is our first female state placer,” Coach Livingston said. “I have full confidence she’ll be back here next year as a senior and on that podium at the top as a champion.” (Bronwyn Liber)

“I have always dreamed of getting to state,” Wieczorek’s said. “But getting fifth place is something I could’ve never imagined. I went into this thinking about how much I wanted this and needed this. I just had this drive to go out there and get it, and it made me feel so amazing that I accomplished so much.”

One of the biggest obstacles on the path to state was trying to train again as she started her recovery from her shoulder dislocation. Since the injury was in her shoulder, when she returned to the mat, she had weaker upper body strength, forcing her to change her wrestling style completely.

“This injury changed things for me as an athlete,” Wieczorek said. “In ways that I couldn’t do certain moves as well, so I had to switch from upper body to lower body, and I had to recover and make sure I was better.”

While she was injured, Wieczorek had dropped enough weight to move down from the 128 lbs. weight class to the 119 weight class. 

“She was wrestling 128 lbs. weight class at the time,” junior Maliana Bowlby, Wieczorek’s teammate, said. “Well, then she became a little bit lighter and so she decided to drop to 119 lbs., and this is like a big deal to drop a weight class – especially when it’s time to go into districts and all that. So she hasn’t wrestled these people before, so she doesn’t know much about these wrestlers, but she just showed up and worked her moves, and everything she did before in 128, she just did better at 119 lbs..”

Brooke Wieczorek and teammate Maliana Bowlby spar in Houston before Wieczorek’s first match. All year Bowlby and Wieczorek have been sparring partners, and even though Bowbly did not make it to state, she still traveled with the team to support Brooke. “She’s been a great friend, a great partner all throughout the season, and I’m just so thankful to be here so I can help her,” Bowlby said. (Bronwyn Liber)

In her time in the 128 lbs. weight class, Wieczorek never made it out of the district, let alone won a match in the district meet. However, already in her short time in the 119 class, Wieczorek became district champion, was runner-up at regionals and placed fifth at state. As Wieczorek enters the off-season, she will begin the process of bulking, undertaking the task of creating lean-weight to get back to her original weight class while retaining the success she saw at 119 lbs. 

“I expect to see really big things from Brooke,” Livingston said. “I think that it is very exciting that she is our first female state placer, and I have full confidence she’ll be back here next year as a senior and on that podium at the top as a champion.”