The Student News Site of Shadow Hills High School

The Knight Times

The Student News Site of Shadow Hills High School

The Knight Times

The Student News Site of Shadow Hills High School

The Knight Times

Shadow Wrestlers Make History

Alisa Murillo, Kaylin Montaño, and Felicito Nuñez before leaving for State on Feb. 21, 2024. Submitted by: Nicole Sanchez

“Some people aspire to be great,” senior Kaylin “KK” Montaño said last week. She was just days away from traveling to Bakersfield, along with nearly 900 other high school wrestlers, to compete at State. 

It would be her second consecutive year competing at the prestigious level. 

Montaño, a four-year wrestler on Shadow’s team, was focused on the upcoming task. 

That focus paid off. 

As the championship drew to a close over the weekend, Montaño solidified her record-breaking season with the 7th place state title. 

She’s the first Shadow Hills wrestler – male or female – who has placed at that level.

In fact, she has set the bar extremely high for future wrestlers. She’s a four time DEL champion, two time DEL individual finals champion, two time CIF individual champion, two time CIF MVP, CIF Eastern Division champion, two time CIF Masters placer, CIF Masters champion, two time state qualifier, and now, 7th place state finisher. 

Montaño has worked hard throughout her high school wrestling career and while she says she’s ready to move on from high school and experience life outside the valley, she’s thankful for what she’s learned about her sport and herself. 

“After [State] last season, I made some changes to how I train,” she explained. “I focus on the basics and who I practice with.”

“The basics win you championships,” she added. 

Fellow senior, Felicito “Feli” Nuñez also had his eye on the state championship, especially after last season. 

Nuñez, who has been wrestling since middle school, said he didn’t place at CIF last year, making competing at State his senior year especially meaningful. 

“I just want to do it for everyone who came up short,” he said. 

That sentiment spurred Nuñez to complete his season well. He finished in the top 24 in the state. 

He would like to help coach in-coming freshmen during the summer and pass on what he’s learned during his time on the wrestling team, he explained. After that, Arizona State University. Nuñez was accepted to the D1 school and aims to join the wrestling team as a walk-on. 

With Montaño and Nuñez graduating, there are big shoes to fill. Junior Alisa Murillo is up to the task. 

Murillo has been wrestling for three years. This was her first visit to the state championship. 

“It’s really exciting,” she said leading up to the event. “I’m happy that I made it.” 

She didn’t set out to wrestle at the high school level, but said she wanted to try something new her freshman year, and really liked the sport. 

Mostly, Murillo cites her team as the reason she enjoys the sport. 

“It’s a fun experience. We’re all really close, ” she explained. “It’s a community.” 

That community cheered their teammate on from home and like Nuñez, Murillo landed in the top 24 in the state. 

Now that the 23/24 wrestling season is over, the seniors can focus on other milestone events. Montaño said she’s ready for graduation, while Nuñez is looking forward to Grad Night. 

Despite the end of the season, the athletes will head into their next chapter – college, senior year – with their coaches’ advice in the back of their minds. 

“They have different points of view,” Montaño said. 

“[Coach] Romo tells us if we lose, we learn from it. [Coach] Davis says, ‘It’s easy to be the champ, it’s hard to maintain that title,’” she added. 

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