The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School

CavsConnect

The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School

CavsConnect

The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School

CavsConnect

Kamora Willis Discovers a Purpose Through Wrestling

Embracing her new found passion, Willis takes wrestling head on
Setting+up+the+perfect+scenario+to+pin+her+opponent%2C+Willis+attempts+a+claw+up+followed+by+a+knee+bend.+These+wrestling+moves+help+her+triumph+in+the+first+wrestling+scrimmage+of+the+2023-2024+season.
Gaby Blanco
Setting up the perfect scenario to pin her opponent, Willis attempts a claw up followed by a knee bend. These wrestling moves help her triumph in the first wrestling scrimmage of the 2023-2024 season.

Stepping foot into Coral Gables Senior High, one thing was clear in the mind of junior Kamora Willis. Determined to experience the thrill of a win and test her athletic abilities, she found herself tackling opponents as one of the only female wrestlers at Gables.

Launching her wrestling journey freshman year, Willis’ first tournament experience was at the Greater Miami Athletic Conference. Even as a freshman, she knew that on these big stages, she would have to rely a great deal upon her strength.

The transition into wrestling was a demanding change for Willis. At five years old, she partook as a Grey Ghost cheerleader in South Miami, following the likes of her older sister. She continued to pursue cheerleading approaching high school.

As a freshman, Willis imagined herself as an enthusiastic addition to Gables’ cheerleading program. Nonetheless, at tryouts, she was deferred from the team because her hair was dyed purple at the time. Instead of retaliating or dying her hair again, Willis searched for many options, hoping to find the right sport.

Willis displays sportsmanship at matches by uplifting her teammates through words of encouragement. (Gaby Blanco)

For a month, Willis started training for the track & field team, but quickly realized that she was looking in the wrong place. Along came wrestling in December of 2021, and she decided to give it a try.

“My passion for wrestling came from my cousin [Levon Johnson]. We were always hip to hip and he told me to join and I joined and got very interested from it,” junior Willis said.

Wrestling comes with a lot of discipline and moderation. In order to be adapt for practices, Willis had to change her diet to include healthier options. Rather than over-consuming meat, she started adding more fruits, a variety of carbohydrates and new breakfast options to her diet.

Throughout her freshman and sophomore year, she progressed as an athlete. From match experience, she learned several wrestling strategies like keeping her head up and maintaining a good stance. Even during a tough match, Willis focused on adjustments she needed to make in order to have the best chance at winning.

Winning multiple awards, Willis is recognized with a belt for Most Valuable Player and a regional district GMAC placer trophy at the annual wrestling banquet during her sophomore year. (Gaby Blanco)

As a female wrestler, Willis owns titles such as Queen of the Mat, meaning she placed first at the most recent Coral Park tournament. Willis has placed well in other local tournaments like GMAC and the H-Town Throwdown, a tournament hosted by Hialeah Gardens High School.

“It [winning Queen of the Mat] showed that if you keep pushing, if you keep trying, you face that adversity, and you keep doing what you’re told [to do] the right way that you can get to your goals… Once you know everything that comes with wrestling, you pay the costs and then you get the nice amenities that come with it like winning, getting ranked, people knowing who you are and just being respected as a female,” junior Willis said.

Training with different coaches, teammates and fellow wrestlers at Gables, Willis has gained all sorts of insight on how to improve her techniques.

“Preparing for a match I’m usually doing new skills practicing to make way or just practicing to get better. I would either pray, listen to music, or study the opponents that I’m gonna go against so I just watch every girl that’s there,” junior Willis said.

Coming back to Gables as an alum, wrestling coach Milla Falroldo helps Willis in moves designed for females. However, Willis considers head wrestling coach Hardie to be her mentor.

“Coach Hardie has given me so many great opportunities and helps me out so much. I have 7 siblings and I don’t have a dad…so Coach Hardie came into my life and became mine [father figure],” junior Willis said.

The Cavaliers that work hard to earn a spot on the wrestling team have also impacted Willis’ time at Gables, on and off the mat.

Willis bursts into a dance celebration after the wrestling team carried out their annual carwash.  (Diana Astorga)

“Most of the seniors [are my role models] because when I first joined wrestling I always thought “omg I suck”, but they were always there encouraging me…no you’re a female…not a lot of people do this. There wasn’t really a lot of girls on the team, so I used to practice with the guys so… now they’re like big brothers to me giving me advice about wrestling, life, knowledge and relationships,” junior Willis said.

The wrestler has pinpointed her goal of leaving a legacy behind for female Cavaliers to respect. She would like to impact the Lady Cavaliers by showing that female athletes can compete at high levels in any sport.

“My goal in life is to wrestle nationally. I want to wrestle out in Japan, travel the world with wrestling and see how far it takes me. If that is not in my cards, the plan is to come back…I am gonna get my socials degree in physical education and become a coach at this school or at any other school that will let me and become a female coach for the wrestling team so I can still make my mark,” junior Willis said.

Willis knows that her wrestling career will persist beyond high school. As she propels herself to new heights, a generation of Lady Cavaliers has a female leader to look up to.

“Wrestling is about connections, who you know, what you know, so I want people to know me I want people to look at me and say I want to wrestle because of her,” junior Willis said.

About the Contributors
Gianna Figueroa, CavsConnect Staff Writer
Gianna Figueroa is a sophomore in the International Baccalaureate program at Gables and this is her first year writing for CavsConnect. Looking for more ways to be involved at Gables, she saw CavsConnect as the perfect opportunity to do so, an opportunity to improve her writing skills. Hoping to meet new faces, engage herself in additional extracurriculars, attend more school events and create memories that will last a lifetime, she is looking forward to working for CavsConnect with the rest of the team. All of this while staying on top of her school work and managing her four Advanced Placement classes. She has a deep passion for art from a young age. Drawing, sketching and painting have been her creative outlet and have helped her all her life.  She aspires to pursue something in the arts and to have a job that will make her truly happy. In her free time, you can find her drawing, reading or spending time with her loved ones.
Gaby Blanco, CavsTV Photography Editor
Gaby Blanco is a senior in the DEH academy at Gables. Being Gaby’s third year as the photography editor of CavsTV, she hopes to round off her year by winning awards for her work at FSPA and spreading her love for the hobby. Besides school, she enjoys playing and watching everything horror and going out with her friends as much as possible. Coming as a surprise to many people, Gaby actually wants to study Architecture in the future and not journalism! She has been studying architecture for the past 4 years, is certified, and hopes to pursue an education studying abroad after she graduates.
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