Fri Jun 30th, 2023
Special to the Drum
Her final prep-level wrestling bout didn’t end as she’d have liked.
But the mere fact she’d competed inside CSU-Pueblo’s Massari Arena as a Colorado High School Coaches Association All-State Games athlete was something Faye Hackett sensed will benefit Ignacio Wrestling in the long run.
“I’ve been told by people that some girls do look up to me, and I’m the reason why they join. That’s what I’ve been told, and it just makes me feel like I’ve done something,” she said. “And I can do it in the future; I’m capable of change, capable of helping others – that’s what I look forward to doing. So it meant a lot.”
Trailing 2A San Juan Basin League familiar Rylie McCabe of Nucla 4-2 after one period and then 9-2 – via a three-point near-fall late – through two two-minute stanzas, IHS’ graduated senior suddenly found herself in a position of power Thursday afternoon, June 15, during the third period upon the mat covering Harry H. Simmons Court.
“If my belly button’s facing the sky, I am in trouble!” McCabe explained, grinning while recalling how Hackett had her in danger of being pinned after latching on with a leg-hooking shot. “So I just knew I had to get my hips up and not go to my back … make sure I was in a better position than her – that’s what was going through my head.”
Composed enough to wriggle free and regain control on top, McCabe – owning an improved 12-2 lead in the 130-pounders’ showdown – soon clutched and stretched out Hackett’s left arm, and using that leverage, then pressed the Lady Bobcat’s shoulder down, finalizing the fall with just 30 seconds remaining.
“The atmosphere here was great; everyone was super kind, welcoming,” said McCabe, set to build upon father/NHS head coach Rob’s legacy at Adams State University (NCAA Div. II) in Alamosa. “I didn’t know Hackett very well, but we became close and it was fun to wrestle her – it was like wrestling a friend.”
“State didn’t go exactly how I wanted it, so this was a great last match of my high-school career before college.”
McCabe’s six-point stick gave Team Blue, guided by 3A Eaton’s Tony Mustari and 5A Centennial Eaglecrest’s Javier Quintana, a 10-6 overall lead three bouts into the dual. Hackett and Red, however, emerged as 47-38 victors after 15 subsequent pairings (a 19th match, Hackett versus 5A Boulder Fairview’s Sydney Wu – who’d repped the Boulder Valley School District in ’22-23 through 4A Broomfield, and who’d already beaten 4A Denver South’s Kiana Suro by 15-5 major decision – was scratched).
“It almost felt nostalgic, you know, just being here … on the mat for probably the last time,” said Hackett, coached at the Games by 3A Bennett’s John Faczak and 5A Fruita Monument’s Lucas Archuleta. “Even though I lost, I still had a lot of fun.”
“It’s fun just being around other people who are working as hard as you,” she continued. “If any of my (Ignacio) coaches were here right now, I think they’d say ‘Great season, Faye! Hope you take this hard work and use it for the rest of your life!’”
“Other than Faye they were all pretty new to the sport,” IHS Girls’ Wrestling head coach Aimee Larsen had said of her team late in the Lady Bobcats’ regular season. “And Faye, personality-wise, is just so mellow; she’s really not a showboat-y kind of kid. But even when she meets up with a kid who’s not quite at her level, she’ll be intentional about practicing moves she’s been working and stuff like that. It’s really cool; I’m really so proud of her – and all our girls.”