It was an achievement that put Brieana Delgado in elite company.
Delgado, a Fountain Inn native and Hillcrest High School graduate, captured the bronze medal at 132 pounds in the FILA University Women’s World Wrestling Championships in Pecs, Hungary, on July 10.
“It at least puts her in the discussion for the next Olympics in her weight class,” Hillcrest assistant coach Tommy Bell said.
“It was very exciting,” Delgado said. “It was really an eye-opener for me to show me what I can work on to take it to the next level.”
Delgado, a rising senior at Oklahoma City University, outlasted her Japanese opponent, Natsumi Hayami, 8-6, in the bronze-medal match.
Bell said Delgado’s toughness and work ethic separate her from the competition. Robert Delgado, Brieana’s father, echoed Bell’s sentiments.
“She believes that the word ‘lose’ is a dirty, four-letter word,” Robert Delgado said. “She refuses to let herself fail.”
“My work ethic comes from my dad,” Brieana said.
Brieana Delgado said her parents, Robert and Erika, traveled all over the country, taking her and sister Brittany, who was three years ahead of Brieana at Oklahoma City University, to camps and women’s tournaments.
“There weren’t many girls wrestling when I was younger,” Brieana Delgado said. “My parents had to sacrifice a lot for my sister and I. I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for them.”
“We wanted to give them a chance to go to school and compete at higher levels if that is what they wanted to do,” Robert Delgado said. “That is very exciting, and it worked out well for them.”
Brieana has the opportunity to match her sister’s feat of being a four-time All-American at Oklahoma City.
“When I was in high school, we never really got to wrestle together because she was on varsity and I was on junior varsity,” Brieana said. “In my freshman year (of college), we wrestled on the same team. I was able to see how she worked and how she competed. It gave me something to look forward to and was kind of my role model.”
The Delgados said they hope to see women’s wrestling grow in the state and ultimately become a varsity sport.
“Every chance that I get to come in, I always try to help my dad with efforts to promote women’s wrestling in South Carolina,” Brieana said. “I love giving back to the younger girls.”