Victoria West junior finds discipline, success in wrestling
Jan. 16, 2014 at 11:02 p.m.
Updated Jan. 16, 2014 at 7:17 p.m.
Jasmene Porter takes pride in throwing people to the mat.
It's an activity she can be seen doing weekly at the VISD District Events Center.
After nearly an hour and a half of practicing her wrestling moves Wednesday, the Victoria West junior ran suicides, sprinting up and down the court with her fellow wrestlers.
"I was always the outcast, and I wanted to try something different," Porter said. "A lot of people were like 'Oh yeah, you should try wrestling; you'd be really good,' and I tried it and had a pretty good season."
In her first year competing, Porter compiled a 22-9 record and finished fourth in the UIL Class 4A State Wrestling Tournament last February.
With a 21-3 record this season and the district tournament a week away, Porter has sights for bigger goals while continuing to learn about wrestling.
"I surprised myself," Porter said about her first year competing. "I didn't think I would even have a winning record or even go to state."
Porter and wrestling became one after she approached VISD coach Kerry Iannazzo. He welcomed the opportunity for another player but didn't expect talent from Porter right away.
"I've been coaching for 20 years; I never had a kid really good already," Iannazzo said. "It almost kills her to get beat."
Porter's confidence has grown since her mother, Barbara Davis, gave her blessing to participate in the sport.
"I was concerned with her getting hurt. Wrestling was kind of new to us," Davis said. "I thought it was a cool idea at the time, and she wasn't going to like it. She proved me wrong."
Porter has enjoyed wrestling because it was a sport her family wasn't familiar with.
The youngest of five siblings - all of whom played sports - Porter thought she would eventually find a sport of her interest.
Older brother Curtis "Peewee" Porter played basketball at Stroman. Though he later landed on the Texas A&M-Kingsville basketball roster, he didn't see Porter playing sports.
"She tried basketball; it wasn't her thing. She tried volleyball; it wasn't her thing," Curtis said. "She found wrestling. She fell in love with it from the jump. I was happy, actually."
This season, Porter competes in the 185- to 215-pound division, making her a heavyweight. The weight class is where she is comfortable and has been successful this season.
"Jasmene always pushes people," said West teammate and sophomore Elizabeth Neitch. "Even though it's practice, she goes all out. She has her days where a lot of people just don't want to do anything, and she's the one keeping everyone going."
Iannazzo believes the sky's the limit for Porter. With a month left in the season, he sees the season ending well for her.
"She was a state placer last year," Iannazzo said. "I'd be disappointed if she doesn't do the same."
Porter has seen how wrestling taught her discipline and says she hopes to one day become a coach.
For now, she hopes her journey leads to a state title.
"It's a really good sport for life." Porter said. "You've got to be responsible."