SEDRO-WOOLLEY - Mount Baker girls' wrestling coach Clyde Blockley only needed to see the Mountaineers' first-round matches before he got a hunch it might be the team's day.
"We actually came out and were ready to wrestle today," he said. "The key today was first-round matches, and we won them all. That was big."
Just like the first round, many of Baker's championship-round matches ended with the similar winning results.
Natalie Smith (118 pounds), Jessica Mata (124), Megan Young (130), Aysha Schwinden (190) and Akemi Schwinden (235) led Mount Baker with individual titles, as the Mountaineers held off a strong Nooksack Valley team to earn a Region 1 Wrestling Tournament title Saturday, Feb. 9, at Sedro-Woolley High School.
Baker finished with 180 points, Nooksack Valley placed second with 128 points, Lynden was fourth with 72 points, Blaine was 16th with 19 points, Bellingham took 21st with 14 points, and Squalicum earned a 26th-place finish with six points.
"I'm so proud of my girls," said Young, who beat Blaine's Olivia Adams in the 130-pound title match. "We've worked really hard this year. Even in years past, I think this is the closest our team has ever been, and it's really exciting. We have some younger girls, and we've been doing really good."
Mountaineers Lacy Cannon (145), Heidi Chambers (130), Aniecea Camacho (155) and Jamie Vanderyacht (170) placed in the top four, giving Mount Baker nine state wrestlers. Last year, Mount Baker sent eight girls to the state tournament.
"Anything can happen at state," Blockley said. "We just got to get them ready to go. If they perform like they did today, we should be in good shape."
The Pioneers can certainly say the same.
Within three minutes, second-year wrestlers Chloe Gardner (137) and Kylee Dekoekkoek (145) each won their championship matches. Gardner pinned Lakewood's Allyson Lawton in 1:34, and Dekoekkoek pinned Cannon in 2:59.
Gardner, who placed fourth at state last year, had one word to describe the win.
"Amazing," she said. "I feel like I have come really far from last year. I'm not as nervous. I will have a lot of confidence (at state), but I'm also prepared for a lot of competition."
Gardner admitted what she and Dekoekkoek have done with only two years of experience is impressive.
"It's really neat," said Gardner of being able to share a regional win with Dekoekkoek. "We have been through this together. We both started last year and have come a really long way."
Nooksack Valley's Alex Parson (118), Alberta Garcia (124) and Amber Cramsey-Behnke (235) each earned top four finishes to give the Pioneers five state wrestlers.
Lynden didn't produce any regional champions, but the Lions did send three wrestlers to state.
Gabriela Herrera placed second at 124 pounds, Thalia Veliz took fourth at 170 pounds and Lisa Hernandez settled for a second-place medal after losing to Akemi in the 235-pound title match.
Blaine's lone wrestler, Olivia Adams, took second after losing to Young in the 130-pound final, and Bellingham senior Chelsey Howard qualified for the Mat Classic with her third-place finish in the 100-pound bracket.
Reach Andrew Lang at email@example.com or call 360-756-2862.
REGION ONE GIRLS' WRESTLING TOURNAMENT
Team scores: Mount Baker 108, Nooksack Valley 128, Sedro-Wolley 108, Lynden 72, Burlington-Edison 55, Stanwood 47, Mount Vernon 41, La Conner 36, Lakewood 35, Oak Harbor 35, Blaine 19, Bellingham 14, Squalicum 6.
Whatcom County top four places
100: 3. Chelsey Howard (Bellingham); 106: none; 112: none; 118: 1. Natalie Smith (Mount Baker), 3. Alex Parson (Nooksack Valley); 124: 1. Jessica Mata (Mount Baker), 2. Gabriela Herrera (Lynden), 3. Alberta Garcia (Nooksack Valley); 130: 1. Megan Young (Mount Baker), 2. Olivia Adams (Blaine), 4. Heidi Chambers (Mount Baker); 137: 1. Chloe Gardner (Nooksack Valley); 145: 1. Kylee Dekoekkoek (Nooksack Valley), 2. Lacy Cannon (Mount Baker); 155: 4. Aniecea Camacho (Mount Baker). 170: 3. Jamie Vanderyacht (Mount Baker), 4. Thalia Veliz (Lynden); 190: 1. Aysha Schwinden (Mount Baker); 235: 1. Akemi Schwinden (Mount Baker), 2. Lisa Hernandez (Lynden), 3. Amber Cramsey-Behnke (Nooksack Valley).
Reach ANDREW LANG at firstname.lastname@example.org or call ext. 862.