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Watertown High School wrestler Tessa Master working hard and making history

Wrestler Tessa Master working hard and making history at Watertown High School
Wrestler Tessa Master working hard and making history at Watertown High School 03:21

WATERTOWN - This week's BZ MVP of the Week is a wrestler who's making history for Watertown High School in just her junior year. 

"For me, it's kind of been, not a long trip, but a hard trip for me to get from where I started as a freshman to here," said Master.

The road to becoming a history-making wrestler for Watertown High School started with a school tour Tessa Master's freshman year.  

"A girl who was a senior for my freshman advisory class was touring us around the school on the first day of school," said Master. "And she just said, 'Oh, this is the wrestling room, I'm the captain' and I was like, 'I'll try it out.' And then I just, kind of, stumbled into it."

Stumble, she did...initially. "First impressions last" but Master's first trip to the mat for a match left a mark.

"It was against this really big, jacked boy. I don't remember where he was from but he basically just picked me up and put me on the mat and I was pinned," said Master. "It was a quick match."

But instead of tapping out, calling that her wrestling career right then and there, Master got up and got back to work. Her teammates took note as she pressed on, refusing to back down from any match against any boy or girl.

"There was a couple matches where she had to wrestle some really tough customers," said Watertown High School's wrestling head coach Kevin Russo. "One match she had a pretty good bloody nose on her. I went over to her and I said, 'Are you OK?' while the trainer was fixing her up. She said, 'Yeah, a little blood never hurt anyone.'"

Tessa Master in third place at the New England Wrestling Championship. Andrew Scopa

Building on the basics, Master became a student of the sports.

"I have a notebook and before all of my matches, I make sure to try to do research on the girl that I know I'm going to wrestle, so I write down in my notebook what I need to look out for," said Master. "I write down my plan for the match, what takedowns I'm going to use, what breakdowns, what turns, whatever."

That self-scouting and game planning paid off for the now junior captain. Just three years removed from being a first-time wrestler, Master became the school's first wrestler to ever advance to the New England Interscholastic Wrestling Championships. And that's not just a state champ for Division III but an all-state champ.

"It's pretty big for me, especially because I started, you didn't see much of a wrestler in me when I was a freshman, I'm going to be honest," said Master. "But there were people here that believed in me, Coach Russo and Coach Scopa, and they put their time into me. And I'm glad that I could, kind of, return on their investment."

"There's no secret, you have to work hard, work continuously and work harder than your opponent to do that," said Russo. "That's easier said than done, it sounds simple, and it's not easy. Tessa is the epitome of that."

In Providence this past weekend, Master proved she's one of the top wrestlers in the region, with a third place finish at the New Englands.

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