Solorio gets surprise homecoming celebration

Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 10:48 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -It was a surprise homecoming for a national champion Thursday, a high school wrestler who’s back after pulling off a very rare feat indeed.

Soon to be high school sophomore Valarie Solorio coming back from Fargo, North Dakota, after becoming the first Bay County wrestler to win a title at the prestigious Fargo National Wrestling Tournament. And just the second from the state of Florida.

Her family and friends surprising her with this party downtown tonight at the Gulf Coast Grappling Academy, of which she is a member. Solorio winning four straight matches in Fargo on her way to the title in the 94 pound weight class of the 16U class.

Valerie was more than happy to see so many of her mat mates upon her return to the Academy

“I just want to say that I’m very, very grateful to have a wrestling family like I do here at Gulf Coast Grappling.” Valerie said. “And being able to be part of such a big team that shows nothing but love and support. It’s really the best thing that I could have asked for. Honestly it’s better than winning this whole thing, is knowing that I get to come home, win or lose, to just a family that’s ready to take me with open arms. And work on what we need to work on. Or celebrate when we need to celebrate. It’s pretty cool.”

Valerie admits she put quite a bit of pressure on herself to deliver this title, since, as she says, so many people have invested in her.

“It’s more relieving than anything just because I put everyone through everything. I made everyone work with me. And so I was like ‘God if I don’t win, I’m gonna feel so bad.’ Everyone worked with me so I was really grateful I was able to do it, more relieved than anything.”

As for traveling with Team Florida, and going out west to North Dakota, well that was a life experience in and of itself, she says.

“Well it was super thrilling just because I got to see things that I haven’t seen before here at home. And I got to travel with a team of girls that were really great. All of them are super nice. I’m glad that I got to make new friends along the way, new teammates. Found some people that love the same things I love and got to compete with them. So that was pretty great.”

Valerie wrestled at Arnold last year. She’s told us she intends to move to Mosley for this, her sophomore year.

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