Considered underdogs to the 4A league powerhouse from Union High School, the Washougal High girls wrestling team entered the Clark County Wrestling Championships on Jan. 12, with a fighting spirit and an eye on overall points.
The Union wrestlers likely thought they had the championship title in the bag. After all, their team won the tournament last season and the Washougal Panthers were coming from a much smaller division at 2A instead of 4A.
Nonetheless, the Panthers climbed that Clark County Championship ladder, wrestling against opponents from the largest schools in the region for the No. 1 team title.
“What a great day for Washougal wrestling,” Panther head girls wrestling coach Heather Carver said after the championship match at Battle Ground High School.
Five Union wrestlers won titles, but it still wasn’t enough to beat Washougal.
Washougal got off to a great start with freshman Emily Seekins winning the individual title in the 100-pound weight class after pinning Jamie Osato from La Center.
“I wrestled her before, and she beat me,” Seekins said of Osato. “But I knew if I tried hard enough I could get the win for our team, and beat Union for the top spot.”
Washougal junior Aria Yang won the 110-pound title, beating Emily Johanson of Kelso by one point. Yang typically wrestles at 115, but dropped to 110 right before the tournament to help her team score more points.
“It took a lot of running,” Yang said of her five-pound weight loss. “I was running right up until weigh-in.”
Yang’s cut in weight allowed freshman Lillian Mucha to score points at 115 for Washougal. Then, at 120 pounds, Mekenna Bowen charged to the finals, racking up points with a second-place finish. At 130, Lauren Locke and Jenna Beaver finished in second and third places, respectively. Ashley Garrison took third place at 135 pounds, and Lacey Klopman finished fourth at 140 pounds. Kiley Sidwell placed at 155 and Emily Eakins at 235.
With so many Panthers scoring points in the consolation rounds, it was enough to edge out Union 173 to 155.5 in team scoring, even though the Titans had seven finalists compared to the Panther’s four.
“We all said the goal was to score points no matter what — fight off our back — because that is who we are. It’s how we want to be seen — as fighters,” Carver said.
The girls wrestling program continues to fill up trophy cabinet space at Washougal High School. The Panthers’ girls wrestling program has now won the Clark County Championship eight times in the past 10 years.
Camas High School also had standouts at the countywide tournament. Camas sophomore Elliana Sabatini took first place at 135 pounds and freshman Kiana Pullen finished in third at 190 pounds.