LWHS Student Wins #1 in KnockOut Christmas Classic Wrestling Tournament
by James Coulter
Jennah Mustafa, 16, spends most of her free time training as a wrestler. Her hard work has since paid off now that she won the title of champion at the Knockout Christmas Classic tournament.
Jennah achieved first place in the Knockout Christmas Classic this season. At 145 lbs., She is currently unbeaten with a record of 19-0. Last season, she became the first girl to ever place in the Wrestling State Tournament for Lake Wales High School.
This is the second year Jennah competed in KnockOut, which is advertised as the toughest high school wrestling tournament in the Southeast United States. She reached the state finals in her freshman year. Last season, when Girls Wrestling was sanctioned, she became the first girl to win district and region and place third place at the FSHAA state wrestling tournament, Al Mustafa said.
“She became the first girl at 145 lbs. to win her district,” Al said. “She also became the first girl at that weight to win the regional championship, and she took third place at the FHSAA state wrestling tournament last year.”
Originally, Jennah started practicing jujitsu. She enrolled in wrestling to improve her athletic abilities in jujitsu, but inevitably, she grew to love wrestling more and stuck with it, her father said.
Al coaches her in the off-season and has supported her through her training. Being able to see her reach and win the state championship is a real honor for him as a father, he said.
“I am a proud father,” Al said. “It makes me proud to watch her work so hard and the results of her winning these tournaments and championships.”
Jennah owes her success to her many sacrifices. When not studying for school or working at her father’s business at Dunkin Donuts, most of her free time is spent practicing, whether at home, at the gym, or at the club. While many people would relax during the off-season, Jennah instead decides to push her limits and keep herself active.
“A lot of people like to take breaks in winter and spring and Thanksgiving, but you have to keep working,” she said. “You cannot take breaks off. You have to train harder than your opponents. You always have to practice all the time, when you get home, morning, night, everything.”
Her achievements have made that time more than well utilized, she insisted. Overall, the best part about wrestling are the friendships she makes through it, she said. She has met interesting people, both on and off the mat, and forged close bonds with them, she said.
“I love meeting new people and creating new friendships,” she said. “You create bonds with people that you do not create with anyone else. It is a lifestyle in general. It is not like any other sport.”
Jennah’s aspirations remain high. She expects to wrestle in more national tournaments and to become a multiple-time All-American. She also aspires to finish her high school career as a two-time state champion. She plans on competing in college, but as a Junior in high school, she remains focused on her current tournaments.
“We still have a long season ahead of us,” Al said “And she is putting in the training and hard work, she is sacrificing what she needs to sacrifice and I think she is going to be ready this time around.”
“It takes a lot of hard work, and there are times you want to quit, but you have to keep going because the end result is worth it,” she said.