WEST ORANGE, NJ — West Orange High School (WOHS) athlete Sandra Guerrero not only made school history in March by becoming the first state Mountaineer wrestling champion, but she has also recently made regional wrestling history as the first female to commit to New Jersey City University (NJCU).
NJCU, which is one of the few universities in the country to feature a women’s wrestling program, posted on its Instagram about Guerrero's wrestling career, highlighting that she is ranked No. 9 in the nation at 191 pounds and posted a perfect record of 22-0 with 21 pins last season prior to being named NJSIAA state champion.
“New Jersey City University had been very interested in Sandy all year, and it’s easy to see why,” said WOHS wrestling coach Stephan Zichella. “Sandy had a few other schools interested in her, but the package NJCU has put together for her is just perfect. She will be close to her family, which makes it a wonderful choice to start her college career, and I’ll get to see her compete too."
Zichella noted that Guerrero sustained an injury at the end of her junior season that ultimately led her finishing the year at No. 4 in the state. Although she was disappointed, her coach said that struggle "set the stage for an unforgettable 2019-2020 senior campaign."
“Sandy came into this season a much more determined and focused athlete," he said. "She never wavered in her quest to accomplish her goal of becoming our program's first state champion."
“Sandy never had a doubt; she had a mission to accomplish, and she took the win in her 215-pound weight class against Joelle Klein, and she showed incredible confidence throughout the season. I believed her biggest challenge was keeping healthy and injury-free. She dominated in every match she wrestled. All of her wins were by pin, with the exception of the state finals, where she won by a score of 7-0."
Of her state championship, Guerrero said she "was crying 15 minutes before going into [her] final match" and cried after winning."
"It was so many years going into this, and having that moment was just so emotional,” she said.
Guerrero’s passion for the sport helped her to recruit several girls, and even boys, into the wrestling program. One of those athletes was Precious Opara, a first-year wrestler and senior that took to the sport like a duck to water and took second place in the 151-pound class at the NJSIAA finals in Atlantic City. Opara will be attending Rutgers University.
As Guerrero moves on to NJCU, she brings with her 10 years of wrestling experience and memories that will last a lifetime.