Camous brings home state title

First wrestler from Folsom High to be a state champion
By: Matt Long
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Tianna Camous has wrestled all season on one good knee and in the biggest match of her high school career Saturday she essentially wrestled with one good eye. Camous hasn’t let torn knee ligaments bother her all season and when her contact lens was knocked out of her left eye early in the first period of the state championship bout in the 122-pound weight class on Saturday at Lemoore High School, Camous took it all in stride. “I just kept my distance and turned away quick and grabbed my contact and put it in my mouth,” Camous explained. “At the end of the period I gave it to my sister and wrestled the rest of the match with one contact.” Camous continued on and worked up a 3-0 lead over Sabrina Samaniego of Andrew Hill High School, earning two near-fall points late in the match with a cradle as the final seconds ticked off the clock. “The girl just broke out of a cradle with about 10 seconds to go and Tianna was basically hanging on,” Folsom High assistant wrestling coach Bill Bolton said. “It wouldn’t have taken much for her opponent to get a reversal and win the match. It could have went bad, but you knew Tianna wasn’t going to let go. Before the match was over you could see Tianna start crying. When the final bell sounded the emotions went flying.” “I was excited, “Camous said. “I wouldn’t say I went crazy, but I cried a little and hugged the coaches, my family and some of my friends from other teams. It still feels surreal. I’m glad all my work paid off.” Camous won all four matches of the tournament to finish her senior season as an undefeated state champion with 38 wins against no losses with an astonishing 31 pins. She’s Folsom High’s first state wrestling champion. “I’ve been knocking heads with her for six or seven years and I’m really proud of her,” Bolton said. “She’s a phenomenal athlete and I just love the girl. She’s a true champion and she’s earned it.” Camous opened the tournament with a 25-second pin over Kendra Wiley of Menlo-Atherton before working up a 5-0 lead over Siwen Dickstein of Mission San Jose in the second round before another first-period pin in 1:42. In the semifinals facing one of the pre-tournament favorites in Alyssa Luna of West Covina, Camous got an early lead and then earned some back points and worked up a commanding 8-1 lead before pinning her midway through the second period. “I was nervous before the match, but confident,” Camous said. “I knew I had the skill and ability to beat her and I knew that I just had to be patient. I was surprised that I was able to pin her so fast.” Camous thanks her family for sticking with her through the years, as well as coaches Tony Rios, Bolton and Lupe Rangel. “They were with me all the way and they would always get on me when I wanted to quit,” Camous said. “They always told me if I did what they said it would get me where I needed to be.” Her parents, Monica and Jerry, were thrilled for their daughter’s accomplishment. “It was an amazing feeling for me,” Monica said. “I was so nervous when I was watching the match my hands were shaking. I knew she could do it but there are so many variables you never know what’s going to happen. You knew she was either going to accomplish her goal and go undefeated and win a state title or end with one loss. It was like a dream, so exciting.” Both Monica and Jerry gave Tianna all the credit for her accomplishment, saying she did it all on her own. “I learned a lot from her,” Jerry said. “I was reluctant to let her wrestle originally, but she taught me to get out of the way and I was grateful to be along for the ride. She taught me about believing in oneself and perseverance. As a parent, I learned you just have to be supportive and get out of their way and let them succeed. You just have to unlock the door for them, provide them the opportunity, and they’ll open the door and take it from there.” Camous said she also learned a lot about her wrestling experiences. “I learned that you have to believe in yourself,” Camous said. “I think my lack of success last year was because I had no self-confidence. This year I learned to believe in myself and learned that if I did that I can do anything.” Camous has already been rewarded for her success on the mat, as she’s earned a wrestling scholarship to Lindenwood University in Missouri. “To win a state title is one thing, and Tianna’s our first to do it, but to do it with an unbeaten record is whole other level,” Folsom High wrestling coach Mike Collier said. “It’s just an outstanding accomplishment and I’m really proud of her. She’s a pioneer for us and I’m sure we will continue to get more female wrestlers because of her success.”