A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA

SACMedia

A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA

SACMedia

A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA

SACMedia

Trailblazing triumph – Megan Irwin’s journey to capturing a state championship

Can Mt. SAC’s champion repeat this season?
During+SACs+inaugural+home+opener+of+womens+wrestling+against+the+East+Los+Angeles+Huskies%2C+Irwin+would+win+her+first+match+at+128+lbs.+against+freshman+Ariana+Camacho.+++
DaveSportsImage
During SAC’s inaugural home opener of women’s wrestling against the East Los Angeles Huskies, Irwin would win her first match at 128 lbs. against freshman Ariana Camacho.

Passionate. Dedicated. Inspiring.

These words best describe one of the new national champions on the women’s wrestling team at Mt. SAC, sophomore Megan Irwin, a 19-year-old business management major.

Before Irwin got into wrestling, she pursued other hobbies and sports including mixed martial arts. “I did jiu-jitsu when I was 10, and that’s what really got me into wrestling,” Irwin said.

“Now, I love wrestling more than any other sport,” she added. “It’s like my favorite for sure.”

 

Irwin’s 4-0 record during SAC’s CCCAA Women’s Wrestling Championship tournament while placing first and scoring 22.5 team points was a huge reason for SAC finishing second overall in the tournament. DaveSportsImage

 

Coming from high school, Irwin was a CIF girls wrestling regionals runner up, 3rd place in CIF girls wrestling masters, 7th place in CIF girls wrestling state championship and wrestling girls MVP.

But it hasn’t been all gold and glory for Irwin. She has faced her share of struggles, particularly within her family.

Growing up, Irwin felt as though she didn’t have anyone to turn to for guidance and advice. She felt like there were a lot of times where she could only rely on herself.

So, Irwin decided to surround herself with friends who she could look up to and lead her in the right direction.

Focusing on her own mental health is important to Irwin because it has helped her become who she is. The topic is a controversial issue, but has deeply affected her family.

Irwin discussed how her mom suffers from bipolar disorder, which affected her and her siblings at home.

Irwin recalled her home life being toxic. She struggled to understand her mom’s actions and didn’t have a solid foundation of what positive mental health actually looked like.

Despite the mental health struggles she witnessed, she still continued her wrestling career and paved the way for her own path to success.

 

Irwin would secure a near fall position and pin her opponent to end the match in 2:21.00 for her first home match win at SAC. DaveSportsImage

 

Originally from the Bay Area, Irwin came to Mt. SAC and was not aware that Mt. SAC had a wrestling team.

Irwin posing with teammates Ruby Rivas (sophomore, top left), Sofia Vergara (sophomore, bottom right) and Hailey Teodoro (freshman, top right) after making their debut matches in the CCCAA Women’s Wrestling State tournament.  Megan Irwin

“I honestly feel like I ended up in the right place; it was kind of serendipitous it feels like,” Irwin said.

From high school wrestling to collegiate wrestling, Irwin felt like there was a big change: the intensity level and athleticism are much higher at the collegiate level.

However, her new-found confidence helped Irwin integrate into the collegiate wrestling sports team. She felt like her welcome to college moment was when she realized that she didn’t care about what other people thought about her, and only wanted to focus on bringing up her own confidence level.

When Irwin first got to the club, she felt that it was a very welcoming and warm environment. They encouraged anyone to come and join.

“Now as we transition to a team, I feel like we are really being a little bit more picky, ” Irwin said. “We do recruit the girls, but we want people that are going to work hard and they want to win.”

 

Nothing like carving a pumpkin with teammate Alexis Pineda (sophomore) to build chemistry before training for the regular season begins. Megan Irwin

 

Competing in a traditionally male-dominated sport hasn’t been easy, especially when faced with coaches who belittle women wrestlers, making them feel inferior. Irwin shared that she had encountered male coaches who subjected her to more criticism and negativity, leaving her feeling restricted and undervalued as a female athlete.

“They expect us to be better and stuff but how can we be better when we have never been supported through this sport. The standard of women’s wrestling is really rising,” Irwin said.

Being at Mt. SAC has provided Irwin with a healthy team environment that makes the sport more enjoyable.

Head Coach David Rivera (left) taking a final picture with Irwin before the summer break begins. Megan Irwin

“We know when to put the work in, but we also know when to have fun,” Irwin said. “I love that balance here at Mt. SAC. The coaches know when to laugh and give us a break.”

“That’s my favorite thing when we are all laughing in a room joking around, things like that,” Irwin added.

Irwin said that the biggest misconception about wrestling is that it is a sport just for men.

“A lot of people think it is a very manly, brutal thing, and I mean it is in some ways brutal, it’s just intense,” she said. “The sport is really not about that though. It’s technique versus technique.”

“It’s like a chess game between people,” she added.

Even though women’s wrestling has seen a tremendous amount of success this past season, the goal for next season is to come out even more victorious.

“One of my favorite memories has to be just winning the state championship,” Irwin said. “That was really special, all the hard work paying off.”

“Next year we are going to be the top team for sure.”

— Megan Irwin

 

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About the Contributors
Ariel Phillips, Co-Features Editor
Ariel Phillips is the Co-Features Editor. For the past year, she has been pursuing journalism and likes to write personal feature stories. A fun fact about Ariel is that she knows her numbers in seven different languages.
Robbie Doctor, Managing Editor
Robbie Asuncion Doctor is the Managing Editor. He has been on staff since Fall 2021 and is an avid Sports and A&E reporter. Some of his favorite hobbies when not watching sports or movies include cooking, martial arts, traveling and wine tasting. A piece of advice he would give to his younger self is never hesitate to ask for help and trust your instincts. His biggest pet peeve is drivers who don’t use their turn signals. Email: [email protected]

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