CLEWISTON — Arelys Valles is a Clewiston High School 2013 alumna and a University of the Cumberlands 2017 alumna.
In August, she will achieve her master of science degree in coaching, to be added to reaching huge personal goals.
On March 30, Valles traveled to New York City to compete at the Bill Farrell International Open.
Usually, Valles competes at the 50 kg weight class, which used to be 48 kg before weight change; however, for this tournament she decided to move up to the 53 kg weight class. Because of making this decision, Valles left the tournament as an international champ.
“Winning this tournament was huge for me! This is my first international medal, and I went up a weight class,” said Valles.
This is one of Valles’s goals; however, while leaving this tournament, she can cross off two other goals from her list. For winning the tournament, Valles qualified for the World Team Trials that takes place in May, and she is now an athlete sponsored by NYAC (New York Athlete Club).
“In the past, I have been close to qualifying but came short. So this is very exciting, and being sponsored by NYAC is great!” said Valles.
She will compete again on April 26 at the U.S. Open at 50 kg in Las Vegas, and on May 18 at the Women’s Freestyle World Team Trails at 50 kg in Rochester, Minn. In one day, Valles was able to reach three of her goals; however, she reached another goal shortly after.
Four days after winning the event, Valles was offered a career goal opportunity. Valles accepted the position as the head women’s wrestling coach for Brewton-Parker College in Mount Vernon, Ga.
“I spent a lot of time thinking and talking to my family and mentor. I have wanted to be a coach since I was in high school, especially in the collegiate level. The opportunity was given to me, and I could not turn it down. I am very excited to take the role as a head wrestling coach, help the growth of women wrestling, and give the girls the opportunities I was given,” said Valles.
Valles is now the fifth or sixth head coach who is a woman in the WCWA (Women College Wrestling Association) level.
“For the past 10 years, I have been involved with wresting from being an athlete and coaching. I knew for my future career I wanted to still be around the sport. Like that saying goes – ‘Do something you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life,’ and that is how I see it with wrestling from being an athlete or a coach,” she said.
Wrestling has given me many opportunities from getting an education, traveling all over the world, meeting many people, building friendships, to my career job, and the list goes on. I am excited for the opportunity I have been given,” said Valles.