Danielle Silva needed a win in the finals of the Region IV-5A girls wrestling tournament Saturday at the Delco Center in Austin.

Technically, it would mean a higher seeding at state, but win or lose, she was still going.

McHi’s Arsyn Sadlier wrestles in the finals of the girls Region IV-5A wrestling tournament on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024 at the Delco Center in Austin. The undefeated junior is now 42-0 on the season. (Ryan Vestil / Special to RGVSports.com)

That need, however, had more to do with her mind and she earned it, righting her mental track by capturing a 3-2 victory over Corpus Christi Carroll’s Genevieve Bellino, the District 15-5A champion with a 41-5 record. Two of those wins came against Silva, including one for the district crown.

Silva and McAllen High’s Arsyn Sadlier (145 pounds) each captured regional titles Saturday in Austin, and will compete along with nine other Class 5A Valley girls wrestlers, and three alternates who could compete based on various reason like another wrestler not making weight, illness or injuries at the Berry Center in Houston on Friday and Saturday at the UIL State Wrestling Championships.

Overall, six Valley wrestlers captured regional titles over the weekend along with Silva and Sadlier. Edinburg Economedes’ Maddox Quinones won the 190-pound 6A crown, Edinburg High’s Cassandra Medrano won the 6A girls 100-pound championship. Sharyland High’s Aiden Baker captured the boys 5A 113-pound title and McHi’s Sergiel Arroyo won the title at the 5A boys 144-pound class.

It will be a second consecutive trip to state for both regional champs. Silva, in the 114-pound weight class, holds a 22-5 record after her four regional tournament wins. Sadlier, who was named female wrestler of the tournament, is 42-0 and also making their second trip to state.

Edinburg Vela’s Danielle Silva.

Silva recognized the importance of Saturday’s win beyond being a high seed at state.

“This is a huge win for me,” Silva said. “We faced each other four or five five times last year and this year she beat me at the first tournament and at the second tournament we met. But, after that first loss it really messed me up in the head and I beat myself up a lot over it and my season started going down.

Silva added that her five losses this year are more than her total number of losses the previous three years of high school wrestling.

“I knew it would be hard, no doubt in my mind,” she said. “But I tried to put my mindset to just wrestle, I’m a senior, I’m committed to college and going to state, let it loose.”

After a scoreless first period, Bellino started on top during the second period, knowing Silva has had some struggle in the spot against her. Again, Silva couldn’t escape.

“It was the same thing but then I was like let me hit a Hail Mary and grabbed her arm and tried to hit a Peterson,” Silva said. “She rolled to her back, I reversed on her and went behind her.”

The lead held and Silva held off a furious comeback attempt as Bellino took multiple unsuccessful shots in the final seconds.

“This gives me some confidence going to state. I couldn’t get her out of my head,” Silva said. “I don’t think people recognize this as a mental sport. It’s tough physically too. Ive cried at practice because of how tough it is. But today is something I’m proud of.”

The Wartburg (Iowa) College wrestling commit says that now that she’s back in her right mindset, she’s as prepared as can be for the state tournament.

“There’s not much more I can do in this final week but stay focused and get some rest,” she said. “Sometimes I think you can work too much. Now, whatever is going to happen is going to happen.”

Silva will face Georgetown’s Sydney Reager (35-14), the Region III fourth-place finisher in the first round on Friday. Sadler will contend with Morgan Raley (23-17), the fourth-place wrestler of Region II in the opening round.

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