Kumelos in the inaugural class of All-State female wrestlers

Mark DeLap
Posted 3/14/23

Kumelo makes history twice

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Kumelos in the inaugural class of All-State female wrestlers


WHEATLAND – Ariel Kumelos made history twice this year.

The first time was when Lady Bulldog wrestler Ariel “Alex” Kumelos was a part of Wyoming history winning the state title in the 125-pound weight class in the first sanctioned girls’ championship. Wheatland High School joins just 12 other schools in an elite group to be home to a Wyoming girl state champ. Kumelos won a hard-fought match against Natrona’s Andraya Canchola where Kumelos beat her opponent by points, and it came down to a nail-biting finish in the third period. Canchola couldn’t gain the momentum needed to defeat Kumelos.

The second time, Kumelos made history was becoming a part of the inaugural class of female wrestlers who were named to the Wyoming All-State Lady Wrestling Team at the 125-pound weight classification.

“It was pretty nerve-wracking,” Kumelos said about her winning a state title and becoming an all-state wrestler. “But it is also definitely pretty awesome. At the end when it was tight, I knew I had it under control.  I could see the clock from where I was, and I was bridged up so none of my back was touching the mat. I knew she couldn’t pin me.”

Kumelos, who has the ability to maintain her composure under pressure, had a determined confidence in those final moments of her match when the decision could go either way.

“I figured I was just going to ride it out right where I was because it was safer than trying to get out and maybe get hit,” Kumelos said.

The entire season was exemplary for Kumelos who not only wrestled well, but as only a freshman was able to not only encourage but also mentor other new wrestlers.

“The season was pretty awesome,” Kumelos said. “The biggest win for me this season other than state, obviously, was a senior that beat me at Shane’s Shadow and I was devastated after that. I maybe was a little bit over-dramatic, but I got second place there and I was scowling in the picture because she beat me. I went back and I beat her the next week.”

Her perspective and her determination comes from life lessons she has learned and it allows her to give sound advice to young wrestlers wanting to jump into the sport.

“Wrestling is not about how long you’ve been doing it, or how many years of experience you have,” she said. “And it’s not about how strong you are or how good you are starting off. It’s about how hard you work. Keeping your mental game up and having that consistent mindset of ‘I won’t lose.’ This is my third-year wrestling and anytime anyone hears the name ‘Ariel’ they think of The Little Mermaid. And then they wrestle me and know they shouldn’t have underestimated me.”

It's the old adage of not judging a book by its cover.

“Alex Kumelos is a great athlete to have as a part of the program from a coaching perspective,” Colt Goff, WHS wrestling coach said. “Putting aside her ability to win matches, which is excellent, Alex embraces new things, in that several other wrestlers have started in the program and she is consistently trying to help them with moves, and asking for questions of clarification from coaches when she doesn’t feel she can address their needs. Alex is patient in her wrestling style, which is rare in young athletes, she recognizes when teammates and opponents are out of position and uses that to her advantage, this makes her a dangerous opponent and a great training partner because it is hard to make mistakes and get away with it.  It is exciting to have Alex on the team and it is exciting to know that she is already one of the first girls state champions in the state of Wyoming and has the potential, if she puts in the time and intensity in her training, to be a four-time state champion.”