Pioneer’s Fluffy Awards
MISSION – It seems like an ordinary wrestling practice Pioneer. Kids putting in the work on the mat.
However, there are a few spectators in the room you wouldn’t identify with wrestling. Sports teams across the country give out chains and championship belts as rewards for their athletes. The Diamondbacks have gone the fluffy route, handing out stuffed animals.
“We went for the anti-cool,” said Pioneer wrestling coach Richard Eckley. “You’ve got the turnover chain for Miami, a lot of wrestling teams started a pin chain now. It’s the exact same thing. I wanted to be a lot different.”
The stuffed animals have names. There’s Chaos Carl, Big Heart Bill, and Relentless Ralph.
“I was thinking to myself oh man, I want to get it if it’s not already me and then he said my name and I was really happy,” said sophomore wrestler Kayla Villarreal. “I just know that I have to keep working.”
“They motivate us to work harder and you kind of want to show it off to everybody,” said junior wrestler Diego Serna. “Like I earned this.”
They also earn it in competitions. Pioneer is coming off a win at the South Texas Throwdown that was hosted by McAllen.
“Other teams are strict and stress out and we’re really relaxed,” said senior Jeffrey Aubin. “It really shows in competitions because we’re always winning.”