Not long ago, Jazmin Deike thought about giving up wrestling.
She missed a tournament and a couple of practices before she returned to the wrestling room.
Tuesday, the Hermiston senior signed a letter of intent to wrestle at Eastern Oregon University.
“I needed to refocus myself mentally,” Deike said of the brief hiatus. “I decided where I wanted to go (to college) and what I wanted to study. It had an impact. I came back better than ever. Things fell into place, and I knew where I stood with the team.”
The EOU program, under the direction of first-year coach Michael Ayala, is in its fourth season.
Deike is the second area wrestler the Mountaineers have signed in the past week. Echo/Stanfield’s Katelyn Lemmon signed with EOU last Thursday.
“What set them apart was their culture and how they define their team,” Deike said of EOU. “I want to be part of something that is going to grow. I’m really excited. I’m sure Eastern has some 170 and 190 girls and I won’t have to wrestle (coach Andy) Hall.”
The Hermiston girls program, coached by Hall, is just in its second year, but Deike has talents that go beyond two years of work.
“Jazmin has been a hard worker,” Hall said. “She’s at every practice and every workout. She had a little hiccup along the way, but she’s back.”
Deike is just in her second year of the sport, but it’s one she has grown to love.
“Last year, I was completely infatuated with it,” she said. “It was my first year, and it was a lot of trial and error. This year, I talked to Hall about what I wanted to do after college (special education teacher). He said I could go college and do both. That competing in a sport would help balance things.”
For Hall, it shows other girls what is possible.
“I hope to attract girls who have not thought about wrestling,” he said. “There are opportunities to get scholarships if you put in the work. There are more and more programs opening up, which means more opportunities.”
With Hermiston moving into the WIAA, it has meant better competition for the girls, especially at tournaments.
“We see our normal teams, but at bigger tournaments, we see girls who pin you in 20 seconds,” Deike said. “That’s when you know what you have to do to get to state.”
Deike also has participated in swimming and track at Hermiston, and she also is part of track coach Emilee Strot’s weight lifting program for girls.
“Last season, I was injured, but being able to lift and stretch was pretty good,” Deike said. “It has helped me a lot.”
Deike and her teammates will compete at subregionals this weekend at Liberty High School near Spokane. The top three advance to regionals the following week.
Deike will drop from 190 to 170 for the postseason, but it won’t be too big of a move considering she typically weighs about 180 pounds.
“My goal is to get out of regionals and go to state,” Deike said.