CARLSBAD, Calif. – Fighting has been in Carlsbad senior Yessenia Sanchez’s DNA for more than a decade. 

“I have a background in grappling in general,” Sanchez told FOX 5. “I’ve been doing jiu-jitsu since I was 5.”

So when the opportunity came about to join the Carlsbad High School wrestling team, the now 17-year-old was ready for the challenge. 

“People think it’s unconventional, wrestling in general, especially for female wrestlers but I tell them I’m a wrestler,” Sanchez said. ”What drew me in was my background in jiu-jitsu and my comfort in contact sports.”

In the early years at Carlsbad, Sanchez would wrestle boys but little did she know she would be paving the way for something the Lancers have never seen.

“She and her partner Jenny had the pioneer award their freshman year for becoming the first girls who actually made it through an entire wrestling season,” Assistant Head Coach Matt Duffy said. “And then they made it through another, and before you knew it, they were four-time season finishers.”

During Sanchez’s senior year, she’d wrestle for a CIF Championship, winning the 160-pound D1 girls’ San Diego section title by decision and becoming the first-ever girls wrestling champion at Carlsbad High School. 

“Doesn’t feel real sometimes when people congratulate me,” Sanchez said. “My goal this year was to make it to state, and the fact that I won CIF is just a plus one to that.” 

Sanchez told FOX 5 that she won’t be pursuing wrestling in college but she will be attending Cal State Los Angeles. She hasn’t decided what she’ll major in.

“I’m excited about college just in general, starting new chapters and wrestling definitely helped me prepare,” she said.