By Ray Hamill — Danika Scott says she owes a lot to the sport of wrestling and how it has helped her grow both on and off the mat.
Despite only competing in the sport for two years, the Del Norte graduate already has received a scholarship to wrestle at a top Oregon program, recently accepting an offer from Southwestern Oregon Community College.
But the sport has given her a lot more than just that.
“Wrestling is not an easy sport, but if you stick with it, it changes you,” Scott said. “It made me more motivated, not just in the sport but in school and outside of school.”
It almost never happened for the outgoing senior, who only took up wrestling as a junior when the Warriors started the girls program.
And it was in large part because of her mother’s encouragement.
“I didn’t want to try it, but my mom said ‘give it a couple of week,’” Scott said. “So I tried it and I loved it.”
Scott has had plenty of success too, winning a North Coast Section championship as a senior and qualifying for the prestigious California state championships both years.
It was on her way home from the state meet this past winter that the SWOCC coaches called to offer her a scholarship.
“Since they were close to home, it made sense to me,” Scott said of the offer. “I think it’s going to be a fun year next year. I’m excited to meet my teammates.”
Scott, who will study nursing, follows in the footsteps of former Eureka Logger Marie Seely who also recently wrestled for the Racoons.
The Del Norte senior is the third local girls wrestler to receive a scholarship offer this year, with Eureka sisters Aracely and Yarceli Rendon-Gomes each also receiving offers to compete at Eastern Oregon and Umpqua College, respectively.
Scott, who studied jiu-jitsu for years before taking up wrestling and also won an H-DNL singles tennis title as a senior, says her coaches played a big role in getting her to where she is today.
“I’ll remember how much our coaches pushed us,” she said, praising Heath Schaad and Devin Azedo in particular for their influence. “It was always hard but they always made it worthwhile.
“I really think a lot of my success came from them.”