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Westside sophomore makes impact on the mat

January 27, 2023


Sophomore Piper Zatechka is following in her brother’s footsteps on the wrestling mat.

Westside’s Piper Zatechka has started to find her rhythm on the mat this season. The sophomore wrestler is coming off two first place finishes at the Weeping Water and Louisville Invitationals. Zatechka recently set the school record in match points for a season (204) and takedowns in a single season (57). 

After getting eliminated in the 2022 State Wrestling Championships, Zatechka returned this year with motivation to get on the podium and redeem herself from last year.

“I think this season has been really good for me, I’m coming into it a lot more confident than I was last season,” Zatechka said. ”I think I started off pretty well but I didn’t get the finish I wanted at state. So going into this season I knew I had to step it up and go out on the mat feeling like I can win.”

Zatechka has been wrestling since middle school, this was before girls wrestling had become a sanctioned NSAA sport. She often had to practice and compete with the boys in meets. Zatechka talked about the transition from wrestling boys to girls.

“I think it’s pretty cool, going from wrestling guys to girls is definitely a big change,” Zatechka said. “Just biologically guys are stronger so it was a difference in that aspect, it’s really cool how big girls wrestling has become as a sport. It’s just a really great environment to be in and all the girls are supporting each other which is a really big aspect as to why it’s continuing to grow so fast”

Zatechka was a freshman in high school when her brother Ryan Zatechka was in his senior year and placed fourth at the 2022 State Championships. Ryan spoke about what it felt like to have his sister in the room and how it benefited both of them.

“We often had duals and tournaments at the same time and I would always watch her after I had a bad match to cheer me up, just having her there made things a lot more fun in general,” Ryan said. “Like at the Metro tournament last year, we both were in each other’s corners supporting each other.

Ryan also expressed how great it is to see his younger sister really start to succeed her sophomore year.

“It feels great honestly, I couldn’t be more proud of her.” Ryan said. “I’m just so excited to see her get better and better. As for guiding her, there wasn’t much I could do, due to the weight difference. She’s a heck of a lot smarter than me so I always tried to link wrestling to physics and what not, So I think that helped, but the teacher is experienced and she’s got two more years to get better and better.”

Piper also expressed how it felt to have her big brother by her side and in her corner throughout the wrestling season. 

“It was definitely really good to have that support, he was always on my mat when he could and I was there cheering him on, there’s definitely a ton of support between us,” Piper said. “We’ve always tried to help and uplift each other and it definitely helped make me feel more comfortable in the wrestling room seeing my brother on the other side and it definitely brought the team closer having two siblings on the same team.”

With only a few weeks remaining in the season, Zatechka and the rest of the Westside girls wrestling team will be back in action at the A-3 District tournament at Lincoln Southeast on Saturday, Feb 4.

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