It's a relatively new sport — high school wrestling, specifically for girls — and it's still in the process of building up a fan base.
But it has some great athletes who are carrying the torch — and Monica Samaniego is one of its brightest stars.
Samaniego, who is undefeated at 131 pounds in her junior year, is doing her best to increase interest in her sport — and to bring fame and glory to the blossoming program at Fontana A.B. Miller High School.
Samaniego took first place at the CIF Southern Section Championships in Eastvale last weekend, and she will be advancing to the CIF State Girls Wrestling Championships on Feb. 28 with hopes of becoming the first wrestler (girl or boy) from a Fontana school to ever win a state title.
Last year, she came very close, taking third place at the state meet, and this season, she compiled a 40-0 record in nine tournaments before capturing top honors at last week's event.
"So far, so good; it's going as I had hoped," she said. "I'm hoping it will continue."
Samaniego has dominated most of her opponents, but she has also gained some very narrow victories. In the championship round of the CIF-SS meet, she edged Marina Briceno of Royal in an overtime thriller, 9-7.
"I have to keep working hard and stay mentally focused through the entire tournament," she said.
Samaniego knows that other girls are very interested in trying to put a stain on her perfect record.
"I feel the pressure," she said, "but I don't let it get to me. It's a motivation to do better and not let anyone from my school down."
In fact, the other girls on the Miller team are extremely proud of Samaniego and look up to her.
"Monica's amazing; she teaches us moves every week," said Vanessa Alcala, a 126-pounder.
With Samaniego's assistance, Miller's Emelia Visoso, Gabbi Zuniga, and Alcala have enjoyed productive seasons and have achieved some high finishes at tournaments.
In return, Samaniego said she appreciates the help her teammates give her.
"I hope the girls' wrestling program here will expand and get bigger," Samaniego said. "It's very refreshing to know that I can count on my fellow teammates to help me and point out ways that I can get better."
Wrestlers from other local schools are also faring well. Destiny Siordia, a junior at Fontana High School, took seventh place at 101 pounds at the CIF-SS meet and qualified for the state event.
With these athletes rising to unprecedented heights, the sport of female wrestling will certainly be gaining more prestige and recognition very soon.