Courtney Cardoza recently made history by becoming the first Millennium High School state champion wrestler, as well as the only women’s grappler to take the top spot in the Agua Fria Union High School District. She can barely maintain her excitement.
“I cried,” Cardoza said. “I told my coach (Michael Bostwick) I wasn’t going to cry unless he cried. It was the first time I cried in sports. I was so excited. At first, I was in shock. He didn’t believe it as first. I put all this work into it.”
For her win, she received a medal that she hangs on her bedframe.
The state championship is no surprise to the people around her, including Bostwick.
“The first thing is her drive,” Bostwick said. “Courtney has always had a state championship as her goals. Courtney is great with taking directions and instruction from myself and my assistant coaches. She truly works to get better every day.”
Cardoza said she worked out several times daily during the season. She headed to the gym early in the morning, attended practice in the afternoon, and returns to the gym later. She said her off-the-mat personality isn’t a reflection of her true self.
“I’m not an aggressive person at all,” she said. “I’m a totally different person when I’m off the mat. I’m very shy. I’m very focused, and my mind just stays on the mat. I try to keep my personalities different from mat time and personal time. I don’t want those two personalities to mix. I would like to be taken serious when I’m on the mat.
“I’m more of a physical person (on the mat), and I’m able to be aggressive in a way,” Cardoza said. “Being aggressive helps a lot. The adrenaline and the rushes that happen are great. It puts me in a good mindset. The feeling of the wins and the accomplishments tie it all together.”
Bostwick said Cardoza has improved under his and coach David Garcia’s tutelage.
“I have seen a vast improvement in her training and attitude toward becoming a better student and athlete over the past four years,” Bostwick said.
“She trains very hard through all types of adversity over the years. Wrestling is the toughest sport around, and she never let issues slow her down from achieving her goals. She went from winning against boys as a freshman to being one of the toughest female wrestlers in the state.”
To say Bostwick is excited about her win is an understatement.
“We had been to the state championship before, and she was favored to win in other years and never won the big one,” Bostwick said.
“It was the best feeling in the world for Courtney, my coaching staff and myself to finally win that match that eluded us for years. It was one of the highlights of my career, because she became the first wrestling state champion in Millennium history and the first female state champion in Agua Fria Union School District history. It was amazing to be a part of for me and assistant coach David Garcia, who have been with her for all four years. It is always special to be a part of history.”
Next for Cardoza is studying and wrestling at Ottawa University.
“I just look forward to the future and pushing myself and seeing what I can accomplish in the future,” said Cardoza, the daughter of Servando and Veronica Cardoza.
“I have a lot of future wrestlers who are younger than me who want advice. They just tell me I’m so good and they want to wrestle like me. I’m glad I can be an inspiration.”