The McDonald County girls' wrestling team crowned its first individual Big 8 Conference champion on Wednesday, Jan. 18, at Nevada.
Stacy Lopez-Apolinar, a junior for the Lady Mustangs, won all four of her matches to take first at 145 pounds, becoming the first girls' wrestler in school history to win a conference title.
"Not only is she the first conference champion, she has placed in the conference tournament all three years," said McDonald County coach Josh Factor. "This being the first time we've ever had a champ, she kind of got us over the hump. Now we've got our first champ; hopefully, we get a few more in the future."
McDonald County finished fifth overall with 87.06 points. Marshfield won its fourth straight team conference championship with 184.02 points, followed by Cassville 158.03, tournament host Nevada 155.04 and Seneca 96.05. Reeds Spring was sixth at 50.07, while Monett was seventh at 39.08, followed by Aurora 27.09, Logan-Rogersville 22.0, Marshfield JV 11.0, Marshfield JV2 4.0, Reeds Spring JV 4.0, McDonald County JV2 3.0, and McDonald County JV 0.0.
The Lady Mustangs had one second-place finisher in Rylie Huston and two third-place finishes from Helen Martinez-Mazariegos and Giselle Aragon.
"We're definitely stepping up in the right direction, but by no means are we where we want to be in the end," Factor said. "We want to compete with Marshfields and Cassvilles and continue to keep working and hopefully get our girls to compete a little better when the district tournament rolls around and have an opportunity to compete for the state tournament."
Lopez-Apolinar (23-2) came into the tournament as the No. 1 seed and went 4-0 on the day, winning two matches by fall and two others by decision, including a 10-4 score over Nevada's Teresa Dawn in the finals. She earned first-team Big 8 All-Conference honors.
"She, in a lot of ways, dominated with a 10-4 decision," Factor said. "She was on verge of winning by major decision. She wrestled smart, got that first takedown and controlled the match from the start."
Huston (7-23) won her first match at 135 by fall and lost her second to Marshfield's Ariaha McIllwain by fall.
She won her third match by Paula Vidal Blasquez of Marshfield JV. She earned second-team All-Conference honors.
"Solid performance all day," Factor said. "She came back in her final match and won that match by fall. Overall, two good wins.
Martinez-Mazariegos (15-16) opened up with three straight wins at 155, but she lost her fourth match to Nevada's Ella Heathman by fall.
Martinez-Mazariegos rebounded to win the third-place match over Rebekah Fry of Cassville by fall in 5:29.
"Helen had a great tournament," Factor said. "In a lot of ways, it was the best performance we've seen out of her all year.
Martinez-Mazariegos finished All-Conference honorable mention.
"She's starting to figure things out," Factor said. "I'm excited to see what she's going to do."
Aragon (18-6) lost her first two matches by fall and decision, respectively, but she came back and beat Nevada's LeAndra Shotts by fall in 2:32 in her third match at 170.
"She did not have the best of days," Factor said. "She's got to figure out how to score points on her feet and be a little more confident in taking shots and relying on her offense to win matches."
Also competing for McDonald County were Ellysia Wasson (110), Jaslyn Benhumea (115), Jazmynn Brewer (140), Kiera Pulliam (155) and Candy Martinez-Mazariegos (155).
Wasson (11-17) finished fifth overall, going 1-4 on the day.
Benhumea (14-13) did not record a victory in three matches and finished fourth.
Brewer (9-19) went 0-4 on the day and took fifth place.
Pulliam (4-8) had four medical forfeits on the day, including one in the ninth-place match to Candy Martinez Mazariegos, who went 1-4 overall.
The Lady Mustangs are scheduled to compete Thursday, Jan. 26, at Marshfield before participating in a three-team home match on Tuesday, Jan. 31, against Glendale and Parkview at Mustang Arena. The home dual was originally scheduled for Jan. 24 but was pushed back a week because of winter weather.