EVERSON - The Mount Baker girls' wrestling team was celebrating a dominant win against rival Sedro-Woolley two days ago.
Roughly 48 hours later, the Mountaineers had another reason to celebrate. Except this time, the win wasn't as flashy.
"I don't think we wrestled our best tournament even though we won," Mount Baker coach Clyde Blockley said. "A lot of girls didn't wrestle well in the last match. I think we were still thinking about last Wednesday's match against Sedro-Woolley, but we still wrestled hard."
The Mountaineers may not have put on their finest performance, but it was strong enough to score 203 points and earn Mount Baker its second consecutive Northwest Conference Tournament title.
Sedro-Woolley placed second with 180 points, host school Nooksack Valley rallied to take third with 146 points, Burlington-Edison finished fourth with 144, Lynden was fifth with 76, Bellingham followed in sixth with 29, Sehome had 24, Blaine scored 16, Anacortes has seven and Meridian finished with no points.
Mount Baker sent a tournament-best nine wrestlers to the finals, filling championship matches in all by three weight classes.
"I'm so proud of our team," said Mount Baker's Megan Young, who pinned Sedro-Woolley's Kirsten Jewell to win the 130-pound weight class. "We have done so good this year. This is the most girls we have ever had in the finals. I'm really proud of that."
While nine Mountaineers made the finals, only three earned first-place medals. Young, Aniecea Camacho (155 pounds) and Aysha Schwinden (195) won their weight classes.
"She is really tough," said Schwinden of Burlington-Edison's Dellisha Hodges - Schwinden's opponent in the finals. "We have gone back and forth the past couple of years, so it feels really good that all my hard work is paying off."
Mount Baker's Lacey Postlewait (106), Natalie Smith (118), Jessica Mata (124), Ivy Locke (137), Jamie Vanderyacht (170) and Akemi Schwinden (235) made the finals but lost.
There was no losing in the finals for Nooksack Valley.
The Pioneers advanced Maria Cazares (100), Chloe Gardner (137), Kylee Dekoekkoek (145) and Amber Cramsey-Behnke (235) to the championship round, and all finished as NWC tournament champions.
This year's result was much different than last year's for Dekoekkoek.
"Last year I don't think I placed, so it's awesome to see the improvement," said Dekoekkoek, who pinned Sedro-Woolley's Taylor Dawson in 3 minutes, 13 seconds to win her title. "Last year we had a really small team. There was five of us. This year we recruited like crazy and got a ton of girls. Out of that lot, we have really committed ones. We practice with the guys, so I think that really helps us improve. And our coach is great. We wouldn't be able to do this without him."
Cazares pinned Sedro-Woolley's Teracita Shanes in 3:22, Gardner pinned Locke in 2:16 and Cramsey-Behnke earned a hard fought, grind-it-out 12-10 decision against Akemi.
It was a great way for first-year freshman Cramsey-Behnke to end her regular season.
"I was hoping to get to state and have put my mind to it and have worked really hard in the wrestling room," Cramsey-Behnke said. "Our coach has us do lots of conditioning, and that really helped with the heart and lungs and lasting (three periods)."
Arguably the most impressive title win went to Sehome's Emily Lucke, who seemingly out of nowhere pinned Smith in the third period.
Lucke trailed 12-0 and twice fought her way off her back to continue the match. All of a sudden near the midway point in the final period, Lucke flipped Smith to her back and had enough energy left to get a pin.
Being the only wrestler representing Sehome, at least 10 girls ran to her after the match to say congratulations.
"I saw I was down 12, and I thought I was going to get teched," Lucke said. "I really didn't want to lose to her. We went to Burlington, and I beat here there, and I was just like, 'I don't want to lose to her.'"
Bellingham's Chelsey Howard (100), Mount Baker's Nicole Boardman (112) and Ellie Baddeley (155), Nooksack Valley's Alex Parson (118), Alberta Garcia (124) and Fabiana Hernandez (137), Blaine's Olivia Adams (130) and Lynden's Thalia Veliz (170) and Alexus Magana (190) placed third.
Reach Andrew Lang at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360-756-2862.
MOUNT BAKER 203, SEDRO-WOOLLEY 180, NOOKSACK VALLEY 146, BURLINGTON-EDISON 144, LYNDEN 76, BELLINGHAM 29, SEHOME 24, BLAINE 16, ANACORTES 7, MERIDIAN 0
100: Maria Cazares (Nooksack Valley) pin Teracita Shanes (Sedro-Woolley) 3:22. 106: Ashley Beccerra (Burlington-Edison) pin Lacy Postlewait (Mount Baker) 0:44. 112: Casandra Beccerra (Burlington-Edison) pin Tori Barnes (Serdo-Woolley) 3:29. 118: Emily Lucke (Sehome) pin Natalie Smith (Mount Baker) 5:15. 124: Tinera Adams (Sedro-Woolley) dec. Jessica Mata (Mount Baker) 5-4. 130: Megan Young (Mount Baker) pin Kirsten Jewell (Sedro-Woolley) 3:33. 137: Chloe Gardner (Nooksack Valley) pin Ivy Locke (Mount Baker) 2:16. 145: Kylee Dekoekkoek pin Taylor Dawson (Sedro-Woolley) 3:13. 155: Aniecea Camacho (Mount Baker) pin Quincy Gunderson (Burlington-Edison) 5:29. 170: Erika Lindholm (Sedro-Woolley) pin Jamie Vanderyacht (Mount Baker) 0:56. 190: Aysha Schwinden (Mount Baker) pin Dellisha Hodges (Burlington-Edison) 3:50. 235: Amber Cramsey-Behnke (Nooksack Valley) dec. Akemi Schwinden (Mount Baker) 12-10
Reach ANDREW LANG at email@example.com or call ext. 862.