Melissa’s Lady Cardinals claimed the District 9-5A wrestling title on Thursday, Feb. 9, at Highland Park High School, in what Melissa girls head coach Rick Gagarin said was the first Class 5A team district championship in school history. In Texas high school wrestling, Class 4A schools and under compete at the 5A level. The Class 4A Lady Cards are grouped with District 9-5A’s Carrollton Creekview, Carrollton R.L. Turner, Carrollton Newman Smith, Lovejoy and Lancaster.

Melissa was led by three tournament champions at the meet: Makayla Watson, who was also named Outstanding Wrestler of the District, Lilly Rogers and Alyssa Rose. Other Melissa wrestlers scoring points were runner-up Jessica Gonzales; third-place medalists Camille Bogdan and Hastings Frederick; fourth place medalists Whitney Legg, Sarah Keeton and Courtney Chamberlain; and fifth place finisher Paige Anderson. All 10 Lady Cards qualified for regional tournament in Bryan, Texas, on Feb. 17-18. The state meet is held the following weekend in Cypress, Texas.

“This was a total team effort from every member of the team,” Gagarin said. “Going into the final matches, Melissa, Creekview, Lovejoy and Lancaster were all within 12 points of each other. We had four wrestlers in the finals and needed pins to pull 4A Melissa over all the 5A opponents.”

In fact, the Lady Cards needed a win in the last match of the night — Rose versus a Lancaster foe — to claim the district trophy. She pinned her opponent in the final period of her contest, lifting the Lady Cards to the crown by two points over Creekview.

Gagarin added, “(Watson’s) Outstanding Wrestler award is a pretty big deal. I have never had one in any tournament, much less the district tournament, since we started wrestling in 2008.”