Washougal girls wrestlers go after the biggest prize

Nine Panthers are bound for the Tacoma Dome

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The Washougal High School girls wrestling team captured the regional championship Saturday, in Hoquiam. Seven Panthers are on their way to state this week.

The Panthers didn’t want to put their regional trophy back in the case, but it’s time for these girls to wrestle for an even bigger prize.

Champion Erin Locke, second-place finishers Jessica Eakins, Haven Camden and Abby Lees, and fourth-place medalists Yaneli Martinez, Emily Alder-Storm and Katelyn Purkeypyle helped Washougal beat 14 other schools for the regional title Saturday, at Hoquiam High School.

“Even though I won my championship match, bringing home the team trophy was even more exciting,” Locke said. “It was the cherry on top of the sundae.”

These seven Panthers will wrestle for state medals Friday and Saturday, inside the Tacoma Dome. After winning the Clark County, sub-regional and regional tournaments, there’s only one trophy left for the Washougal girls to obtain.

“I was lucky enough to come on this team two years ago,” Purkeypyle said. “Since then, it’s been an ultimate climb. And we’re not going to stop until we achieve our dream.”

Washougal rose to the occasion against stiff competition from Centralia, Kelso, Yelm and the rest of the region.

“Every girl had a role and a piece of this championship,” said head girls coach Heather Carver. “We did it for the family of Washougal.”

The Panthers also captured the sub-regional girls wrestling championship Wednesday, at Ilwaco High School.

Washougal racked up 193.5 points to beat rival Kelso by 36.5 points. The tournament featured 19 teams from Southwest Washington.

“You have to appreciate these moments when you have them because they are so difficult to capture,” Carver said. “For that one moment in time, we’re the best.”

Locke beat Rochester’s Jamille Athmath 6-4 to become the 137-pound sub-regional champion. Lees pinned Centralia’s Charliann McCall to clinch first place at 155 pounds.

Martinez, Eakins and Camden finished in second place.

The Washougal boys wrestling team earned second place at the 2A sub-regional tournament Feb. 11, at R.A. Long High School.

Taylor Leifsen, Tanner Baldwin, Bailey Burk and Jacob Brown grabbed championship medals. Zach Oster, Bailey Duncan and Garrett Duey settled for second place. Ulrich Reyes and John Sunderland finished in third place.

Baldwin made it 2-for-2, when the Washougal junior beat R.A. Long’s Dustin Nading 4-2 for the 145-pound regional title Saturday, at Hockinson High School.

“I’m in the best shape I’ve been in all season, and I’m ready for state,” Baldwin said. “I’m excited to go back to the dome with everything that I’ve learned. I just want to get up there and place.”

Brown grabbed third place for the Panthers at 220 pounds. He beat R.A. Long’s Devlin Nipper and Kingston’s Ryan Sigo to earn a ticket to Tacoma.

Burk, Duey and Oster snagged sixth-place regional medals for Washougal.