According to Arianna Marrufo, it was darn near a heat wave in North Dakota.

When speaking by phone last week from her dorm at Jamestown University, Marrufo said the city’s current temperature was 15 degrees.

“Last week, it was in the ‘negatives,’ so this is a big improvement,” she explained.

Marrufo is in her fifth year attending college in Jamestown. She graduated from Dos Palos High School in 2018, and after a very successful career on the Bronco wrestling team, she signed a letter of intent to wrestle for the Jimmies.

Marrufo and her teammates will compete in the NAIA National Championships, conveniently held at Jamestown, this Friday and Saturday. 

Marrufo, competing at 123 lbs., qualified for the championships by placing first in the recent Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference championships. She swept through the tournament undefeated. Ranked No. 11 nationally, she pinned 7th ranked Larissa Kaz of Hastings College for the title. It was her third KCAC title, winning at 116 lbs. last year and at 123 lbs. in 2021.

“Winning the title by pin was really cool,” Marrufo said. “I was really nervous, and that made it stressful, but I was able to come through. It worked out.”

Now she is preparing for the National Championships. Seedings have not come out yet, so Marrufo does not know who is in her bracket, nor does she know how her team will fare.

“Our numbers are down because of injuries,” she explained. “We started with 22 wrestlers, and now we are down to about nine. But we will be ready to go.”

And it will also mean the end of her wrestling career, which gives her mixed feelings.

“Part of me wants it to be done. I have been wrestling for 11 years, starting with youth,” she said. “But I will miss it like crazy because I have put in so much work. Wrestling has been a big part of my family.”

The daughter of Ramon and Mary Marrufo, her father was an accomplished wrestler at Dos Palos High. His older brother Adrian also wrestled for the Broncos before moving on to compete at Simpson College in Southern California. He is now a teacher at DPHS and just finished his first year as the head wrestling coach.

A local trailblazer in girls wrestling, Marrufo is most proud of the growth of women’s wrestling both at the high school and college levels.

“I used to have to wrestle in boys’ tournaments, but now the number of female wrestlers has grown to where we now have girls-only tournaments,” she said. “Now California has Girls State championships, and other states are following.”

In her first year as the Jamestown head wrestling coach, Amy Golding called Marrufo an extremely hard worker who is one of the team’s captains.

“At the KCAC tournament, Arianna finished in style,” Golding exclaimed. “She pinned the No. 7 ranked girl in the country. We are hosting the national tournament, and I will not be surprised when Arianna wins it. Anything she sets her mind to, she can accomplish, and I feel privileged to have gotten the chance to work with and develop her this year. She is an inspiration on and off the mat, truly one of a kind. Her family back home must be so proud of her because I know the university and I are very proud of her.”

Her older brother Adrian said that commitment is what made his sister successful.

“Adriana is a hard worker. She’s disciplined when it comes to weight cuts and always has been,” he said. “She has always strived to be better than her previous self, and I think that’s why she’s found so much success. She’s fun to watch, has a lot of energy, and I look forward to seeing what she does in her final year at the national tournament.”

Marrufo will graduate this May with a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science with a goal of becoming an Exercise Physiologist. She also plans to attend grad school.

David Borboa