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Senior Spotlight: Santa Maria's Mariana Tello excelled in the water and on the mat for Saints
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Senior Spotlight

Senior Spotlight: Santa Maria's Mariana Tello excelled in the water and on the mat for Saints

Some of Mariana Tello’s illustrious athletic career at Santa Maria High School was spent on land. Some of it was spent in the water.

If her athletic career continues, it will likely be in the water.

Tello was a four-year water polo player, a four-year swimmer and a two-year wrestler at Santa Maria.

“I don’t know at this time whether or not I’ll try to get into a sport,” after she graduates from high school, said Tello.

If she does try to become a collegiate student-athlete, “It will probably be in a water sport,” said Tello.

She was a four-year varsity water polo athlete at the set position. Tello was a three-year varsity swimmer in the 500 freestyle and 100 backstroke and a two-year varsity wrestler at 189 pounds.

Tello, who carries a 3.21 GPA at Santa Maria, was that school’s nominee for the Northern Santa Barbara County Athletic Round Table 2020 Female Athlete of the Year Scholarship.

The NSBCART customarily awards its scholarships at its annual awards dinner. The organization cancelled its 2020 dinner because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tello’s career aspirations also have to do with the water.

She will major in marine biology and, “I want to be a marine ecologist,” she said.

Marine Ecology is the study of marine-life habitat, populations and organisms and the surrounding environment.

Tello will attend Hancock College next school year. She wants to attend UC Santa Barbara afterward.

Hancock did not have a water polo program last fall. The pandemic wiped out the school’s 2020 swim season.

Because of the pandemic, nothing is certain regarding the status of sports in the near future in California, though California Governor Gavin Newsom said recently that professional sports might resume in California in early June.

“I’ll have some time to figure it out,“ said Tello.

If 2020 was Tello’s farewell to competitive wrestling, it was a highly successful one.

She won the Central Coast Athletic Association championship at 189 pounds and qualified for the CIF state tournament as well with a third-place finish at the Central Section Masters Tournament.

Tello helped the Saints to the Central Section Division 2 championship. The league and sectional titles were the first for a Santa Maria girls wrestling team.

Tello said she got interested in wrestling thanks to a friend, water polo and swimming teammate Clarita Mendoza.

“We’d done water polo and swim together, so we decided to do wrestling together,” said Tello.

Mendoza was a wing player for Santa Maria’s water polo team and wrestled at 121 pounds.

The 2020 Santa Maria swim program got in exactly two meets before the pandemic wiped out spring sports statewide in March.

With team workouts cancelled, “I’ve been doing some workouts that our coach (Jose Torres) sent to the wrestlers,” said Tello.

“It’s a lot of cardio.”

When schools closed statewide since March, Tello and her fellow students had start online learning.

“I’d rather be in the classroom,” said Tello.

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Sports Reporter

Kenny Cress, sportswriter for the Santa Maria Times since September of 2000. BA in political science from Cal Poly Pomona. BA in journalism from Cal State Northridge.

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