The Washougal girls kicked off the championship round of the Clark County tournament with a bang Saturday, at Union High School.
Sophomore Erin Locke sang the National Anthem before her teammates Jessica Eakins and Emily Alder-Storm wrestled for the 100-pound championship in the first match. Eakins and Haven Camden each won county championships, Locke, Alder-Storm, Tara Duey and Jessica Biron also wrestled in the finals and finished second. All of their performances added up to a county team title for the Panther girls over 14 other schools.
“From the top to the bottom of the pile, every single girl was pulling for the benefit of the team,” said head coach Heather Carver. “We love living in Clark County and representing Clark County. We might live on the fringe, but it’s nice to prove to everyone where we come from.”
Eakins pinned Alder-Storm for the 100-title with 40.6 seconds left in the first round. The two Panthers push each other every day for the top spot on varsity. Carver said when Eakins lost her first challenge match to Alder-Storm, she wanted to know how soon she could get a rematch.
“When you have a kid who hates to lose, you have a champion in the making,” Carver said.
Eakins capped off a wonderful day for her family with a county title. Her brother Wyatt finished with a fourth-place medal at 106 pounds, and their cousin Kyle earned a sixth-place medal at 285 pounds.
“I like being a part of the Eakins tradition,” she said. “It was fun being against one of my friends in the finals.”
Alder-Storm could be asking for her rematch with Eakins at practice today. The defining moment of the tournament for the team was when both girls hugged each other after their match was over.
“I promised I’d hug her, even if I lost,” Alder-Storm said.
Camden delivered one of the biggest reversals in the tournament. She fought off her back and pinned Union’s Kira Kelsey for the 124-pound championship just before the end of the second round.
“I just didn’t want to quit,” Camden said. “I couldn’t get pinned, so I gave all I had, bridged out of it and got over.”
Camden sported a pair socks that looked like something out of a Rainbow Bright cartoon.
“I wore them at one tournament, and they were magic,” she said. “Now I always wear them.”
Carver said Camden has a great sense of fashion. Something she didn’t teach her. Carver also didn’t teach Locke how to sing. After belting out the Star-Spangled Banner to wondrous applause, Locke came within inches of becoming a county champion.
Duey had quite a stand-up battle with Union’s Tiffany Hu for the 118-title, but she couldn’t score any points in a 3-0 loss.
Biron settled for second place at 115 pounds. Sara Sanchez (124 pounds) and Romney Kellogg (145) each took third in their wieght classes. Megan Neu finished fourth at 137.