ORLAND, Calif. --
Jennifer Soto aspired to be just like her brother since she was nine-years-old. A wrestler.
“My dad didn’t even want me to wrestle,” said Soto. “[My brother and I] went behind his back and did all that and said I played baseball, which I don’t think is the same season.”
Soto said she enjoys wrestling because of the results she gets when she works hard.
“I think it’s the toughest sport you can do honestly, it’s mentally, emotionally and physically hard, but you just fall in love with it,” said Soto.
The Orland High sophomore won her second consecutive California State title in her weight class last month in Bakersfield.
“It was very emotional because that was something I wanted to do since I stepped on the mat, since I was a little fourth grader, so to have achieved that I was astonished,” said Soto.
The two-timer says she never looks at who she will face on the mat. Her brother instilled confidence in her at a young age.
“When I was younger my brother would tell me, ‘don’t even look at that.’ I used to look at that, but he said, ‘it doesn’t matter who you wrestle, you put in the work, you’re the best in the world. So anybody, any day.”
Soto says her goal is to win four state title and become a world title holder. Soto is No. 1 in the country and No. 3 in the world after competing in last year’s competition as a freshman.
She also has dreams of competing in the 2024 Olympics.
“I’m very confident. If I keep putting in the work how I’ve bee'n and I keep striving to get better than that will definitely be something I will accomplish,” said Soto.
Soto will try-out for the U.S. National team next month. If she makes it and wins, she will qualify to worlds this summer.