MCALLEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) – Serenity De La Garza became the first girls wrestler in Rio Grande Valley history to repeat as state champion.
The McAllen Memorial senior entered the 2022-23 season as defending state champion in the 138 lbs. weight class. She also entered the year with an undefeated record.
De La Garza persevered and repeated as state champion. She also finished undefeated, but this year was nothing short of easy for Serenity.
“It was long. It was dreadful,” said Serenity De La Garza. “I had to push through it because I did it last year, and I was like ‘I can do it again.’”
De La Garza finished with a 72-0 record during her two state title runs. Defending her championship was something she set as a goal entering her final year on the mat.
Once the season began, De La Garza said “she didn’t want to think about her state championship. Her only goal was focusing on one match at a time.”
However, the pressure to repeat as champion did enter De La Garza’s mind. It was something she was able to overcome all season long.
“I had to defend the title because last year, I didn’t have anything to worry about,” said De La Garza. “This year, I felt nervous about it. I just had to think confidently and go in there with a strong mind, like I can do this again.”
De La Garza leaves a big legacy behind at McAllen Memorial High School.
Accolades are one thing, but being able to compete on the mat with her twin sister Eternity De La Gara is something Serenity will remember forever.
Eternity De La Garza also took the podium in the 165 lb. weight class. Eternity entered the state meet with high hopes after a second-place finish last year.
While it was not the outcome De La Garza wanted, she still finished fourth. Her sister repeating as champion was something Eternity did not take for granted.
“I’m so happy I get to have a sister like that,” said Eternity De La Garza, sister of Serenity De La Garza. “Not anybody’s sibling can do that, and going with her was a pleasure, knowing that she’s now a two-time state champ.”
Every great champion battles through adversity at some point in their career. For Serenity, that adversity came in the regional meet where she sustained an arm injury.
Despite that, Serenity pushed through the pain, knowing she needed to defend her state title.
“I just pushed through it,” said Serenity De La Garza. “I didn’t really feel it when I wrestled, but towards the end, I felt it. I had to keep pushing. I could feel the pain afterwards.”
De La Garza pushed through the pain to reclaim her state title in her final season on the mat. She cemented her legacy on the mat and her place in the record books.