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A Champion’s Journey: Maddie Pena’s Rise to the Top in Texas Wrestling

Maddie Pena grew up watching her brothers wrestle, but it took time for her to get involved in the sport.

She grew up watching older brothers Bryan and Alex both wrestle. Both were standouts at Lubbock High School and both ended up wrestling at Wayland Baptist University after high school.

“I was around wrestling since I was born; I was always at tournaments cheering them on,” Pena said. “I always remember the vibe and energy and nothing but positiveness. I enjoyed it and the victories they would achieve.”

However, she wasn’t one of those girls who got into wrestling as soon as she could.

Instead, she pursued gymnastics starting at the age of 5.

Around the age of 13, she didn’t have the same love for gymnastics.

She decided to try wrestling and … she’s pretty good at it. 

“I love to watch it and I gave it a shot and sure enough I fell in love with the sport,” she said. 

She was a state qualifier her first year at Lubbock High and went 2-2 at the state meet — losing to state champion Alexis Hanks of Killeen Ellison in the quarterfinals. 

Pena was 34-8 last year.

This year, she went 34-2 and claimed the 5A 114-pound championship. She had pins in three of her four matches and escaped with a 3-2 ultimate tiebreaker win in the quarterfinals — the same round last year she fell in….

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Written by Cody Thorn

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