Lathrop High School senior Desarae Matheny signed her letter of intent to compete for Dixie State University’s women’s club wrestling program at the Interior Grappling Academy on Thursday, which also happened to double as Matheny’s 18th birthday.
“You can sign the bottom too because you’re 18 now,” Matheny’s parents joked, pointing to the section of the form reserved for guardians if the signee is not yet of age.
Looking back, Matheny says she now understands what people mean when they say time passes quicker than you think.
“It’s really hard for me to believe that I got here, because it feels like yesterday I was just in middle school just deciding to do this sport,” Matheny said after officially committing. “I never thought I would, but it’s exciting,”
Dixie State is a public university in St. George, Utah, and its wrestling team competes in the West Coast Conference of the National Collegiate Wrestling Association.
Matheny’s interest in the Trailblazers came as a small surprise even to her, as she had never been to Utah before and was originally interested in attending school in the Northwest, particularly Southern Oregon University. But the Dixie State coach ultimately won her over.
“What really drew me to Dixie was that the coach really put out and really wanted me to come wrestle for him. Some of the other coaches that I talked to, they didn’t seem as excited to have me on their team, but he was like, ‘You’d be a great asset. I would love to have you.’”
Matheny finished her time at Lathrop with a fourth place finish at the state championship meet in the 145 weight class. During her four years with the Trailblazers, she is hoping to achieve All-American status at least once.
“I think that would be a really big goal and something that would be awesome.
“I’m just looking forward to learning new things,” she added. “I’m excited to see what all these other girls coming in will teach me as well.”
In particular she’s hoping to improve her shooting.
“I don’t shoot a lot,” she said. “I’ve been really big into throwing and snap downs, but I feel like in order to get to my goal that I want I need to feel comfortable shooting.”
Matheny also acknowledged her parents’ support.
“In middle school, I never really thought that I would come out and wrestle, so when I told my parents they were like, ‘You’re what? You’re choosing to do what?’ — because I always said that I would never wrestle.
“But they’ve always been there for me and pushed me to whatever sport that I love. … They supported me all the way.”
Contact News-Miner sports writer Laura Stickells at 459-7530. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMsports.