Athlete of the Week: Marissa Gallegos
Gallegos placed second at Nationals
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - It’s not every day you get an opportunity to try out for the Olympic team but when you do, you have to lay it all on the line. That is what Marissa Gallegos did.
Marissa Gallegos is a 2-time All-American with only two losses on the season. COVID-19 cut her post-season short last year and was unable to try out at the Last Chance Qualifier.
“I felt lost. When it’s taken away from you, you forget wrestling is an opportunity; going to school in person is an opportunity. It made me feel grateful every time I was on the mat,” says Marissa.
She trained all summer and this year, she was runner-up at the Southwest Regionals in the 123 weight class. But while getting ready for Nationals, Marissa broke her right hand three days prior.
“I made the decision to wrestle with it broken. I wouldn’t felt like everything I did all summer, all-season, would have gone to waste. I feel like I grew a lot mentally through that and finding a way to make finals at nationals.”
Broken hand and all, the Denver native finished in second place.
“I know that she soaked over that loss longer than she should have. Seeing herself take second is like a failure to her. Marissa is that type of person where you give her something to do, a task and she does it fully, 100%,” says coach Travis Mercado.
She’s no stranger to injuries. She’s had three shoulder injuries throughout high school, including one her freshman year at CMU that kept her off the mat for a year. She came back placing second at the Last Chance Qualifier, allowing her to compete at the Olympic Team Trials and a chance to compete in Tokyo.
“After Nationals, I thought I was done. I had that gut feeling of I should try and do this.”
Marissa lost in the first round as the No. 11 seed. As a redshirt sophomore, she hopes to be named national champion in the next two years but always strives for more. She hopes to graduate with a 3.9 GPA in Biology and make the U23 World Team.
“I wanted to be a national champion since my very first season. I fell short. The second time I fell short. It took me a while to really realize that just being there is an opportunity. But things happen and it’s only molding me to be better and I feel like there’s going to be much more. Don’t sell yourself short, don’t be afraid to dream big. You might fall in the process but that’s part of it. You have to get back up after that.”
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