WRESTLING: Poly junior Sereneia Nagum makes an impression in the girl’s wrestling scene as Poly’s only female wrestler.
By Micah Pierce, Staff Writer
Neia Nagum (11) is the sole female on Poly High School’s wrestling team, and one of only four in all of the Riverside Unified School District (RUSD). Nagum has been involved in combat sports from a very young age. She started jiu jitsu at eight years old and continued on to place first in the state of Arizona at the age of 14. She took up wrestling three years ago as a freshman at Poly, not long after her victories in jiu jitsu. “I was very excited when I found out girls were able to try out for wrestling, and I signed up immediately,” Nagum said.
Last year, Nagum had an incredible record of 13 wins and only four losses. Along with the rest of her season, Nagum was successful in three prestigious tournaments: the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) tournament, Masters, and State. She placed third in CIF and moved on to the Masters tournament where she placed 16th. Nagum plans on making it to state this year. Her previous season went very well, placing her 32nd in California. She hopes to participate in the 2020 Olympic trials in the future.
As a wrestler, Nagum has very taxing practice hours before and during wrestling season. She has two practices a week before season starts and six per week Monday through Friday once it starts. These practices are typically two hours long. These exhausting practices start with simple stretching and warming up, eventually growing into full on wrestling matches. All this hard work pays off at the first match and with victory. “Winning a match is very thrilling and exciting. Afterwards I always think about what I could’ve done better or improved on, even if I won,” Nagum said.
Wrestling is not the only extracurricular activity Nagum is involved in. She started acting in school plays her freshman year and is even currently directing a production. Somehow, she manages to juggle both theater and wrestling in harmony, even with the many grueling practice hours required for all wrestlers. “I tend to take part in theater towards the beginning and end of the year before and after season starts,” Nagum said. This system allows Nagum to balance her multiple extracurricular activities.
Despite being a girl, Nagum still manages to hold her own against primarily male opponents, which is evident when looking at her thirteen and four record. She is turning her dream into reality. “I honestly believe that wrestling is my passion. No, I don’t believe it is. I know it is,” Nagum said.