Hannah Francis

Coppell senior Hannah Francis has a record of 17-0.

With the University Interscholastic League not allowing any tournaments this season until the district tournament, teams have been limited to duals.

But, that limited format hasn’t slowed down the Coppell girls. Coppell is making the most of its time on the mat. The Cowgirls are 18-1-1 on the season.

Coppell head coach Chip Lowery said that his Cowgirls never usually wrestle that many duals in a single season.

Prior to this year, high school teams across Texas would mix in a combination of tournaments and duals into their season schedule. But, the current COVID-19 pandemic has forced the UIL to tip its hand. In an effort to combat the spread of the virus, a maximum of four teams are allowed to compete in an event. That is, of course, until the district tournament.

But, Lowery is grateful that his Cowgirls get to have a season. He’s said that Coppell has had a few seasons in past years in which it has finished the dual portion of its schedule with a perfect record. This year’s team isn’t too far off that mark.

Credit Coppell’s experience for its near-perfect team record.

Senior heavyweight Hannah Francis, who lost only one match all of her junior season and placed third in the state, and sophomore 110-pounder Scout Carrell, who a state qualifier as a freshman, are both 17-0 on the season. Senior Dorian Villalba, who wrestles at 128 pounds, is 15-2.

“We knew that we had some good returning girls coming into the season,” Lowery said. “They keep stepping up. Usually we have to wrestle twice a week and they keep showing up. We haven't had anybody out with illness or sickness." 

The Coppell boys have won six duals this season and have been led on the mat by four Cowboys. Jo’el Hernandez, a senior who wrestles in the 120-pound weight division, is 16-2 on the season. Dom Godinez, a sophomore who competes at 106, has a record of 11-3. Freshman Cameron Girard, who wrestles at 145, has a record of 17-4. Heavyweight Simi Socks, a junior, is 7-0.

Coppell is scheduled to wrestle at Wylie on Wednesday. It serves as the final dual of the regular season for the Cowboys. Then, they, as well as the Cowgirls, turn the page on the regular season and will begin to prepare for the District 6-6A tournament, scheduled for April 9-10 at Allen.

"Our district is really tough,” Lowery said. “We've tied Allen and they've got some state-level kids. Prosper has some state-level kids. Plano West has some state-level kids. Guaranteed for guys, it might be the toughest district. Girls is also tough, at least in 6A. All of those schools have some state place winners."

On March 26, the UIL said that the number of qualifiers from the district tournament to the regional tournament, as well as the regional tournament to the state tournament, would be increasing from two to three for each weight class.

The state wrestling meet is tentatively scheduled for April 23-24, though no location has been determined.

In past years, the top four placers in each weight class qualified for the next round of the postseason. Coming into this season, the UIL announced a rule change where only the top two finishers would advance. But, the March 26 announcement by the UIL changed things for the better.

"That would have left state-placer kids at home,” Lowery said. “Three helps. Track got all four back, but we'll take the extra one. All of the schools are thankful to have one."

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