Gunn High freshman Cadence Lee is a pretty good soccer player, perhaps good enough to start on the Titans' varsity this season. Lee, however, never made it to the field this season and that turned out to be good news for the school's wrestling team.
Not only did the 103-pound Lee earn a starting role for the Titans this season, but she made some history, as well, by winning her weight division at the Central Coast Section Girls' Wrestling Championships on Saturday at Oak Grove High in San Jose.
Lee now will represent Gunn at the inaugural CIF State Championships in Lemoore on Feb. 25-26.
Lee was unseeded in her 16-girl bracket but, after opening with a first-round bye, proceeded to pin her way through the tournament and become the first female wrestling champ in school history. Although Gunn's only entry, Lee's pins and victory added up to enough points to give the Titans a 21st-place finish out of 51 teams that competed.
Lee won her match in the Round of 8 with a pin in just 41 seconds. She then pinned the No. 1 seed from Santa Teresa in 3:55 to advance to the finals, where she pinned the No. 3 seed from Branham in 3:59.
Before the finals, Lee was one of two athletes who were presented with the CCS Sportsmanship Award for "Pursuing Victory With Honor."
This marks both the first time Gunn has had an entry in the girls CCS Championships for wrestling and Gunn's first champion in this event.
Lee is 15-4 overall this season, with eight pins, and 5-0 in duals. She won her match, 8-0, during a 36-33 victory over Fremont last week as Gunn wrapped up the SCVAL El Camino Division dual-meet title.
"She ranks sixth on my team for team points," said Gunn coach Chris Horpel. "She had a strong judo background coming in, so it was no surprise that she was this good right off the bat. Her brother, Blaze Lee, is my starter at 140 pounds."
Horpel has known Cadence since she went out for wrestling as a seventh-grader at Terman Middle School.
"She never lost in middle school," Horpel said, "and lost (only) her first matches this year in tournaments."
The Gunn and Palo Alto wrestling teams will be in action this weekend when the SCVAL Championships are held at Wilcox High, Friday and Saturday. Menlo-Atherton, meanwhile, will compete at the Peninsula Athletic League Championships at Burlingame on Saturday.