TACOMA - Aysha Schwinden was so close to winning a 190-pound state title she could sense it, literally.
"I did. I did," said Schwinden when asked if she thought she had a state title wrapped up with seconds to go in her championship bout against Centralia's Ryan Gibbons before ending up losing 11-9 in overtime. "I thought I was ahead by a lot of points, but then I looked at the scoreboard and it was tied, and that threw me off a little bit for overtime."
With under 10 seconds remaining in the third period, Mount Baker's Schwinden led 9-5.
The result of what happened next didn't sit well with Baker girls' coach Clyde Blockley, who thought Schwinden deserved to be crowned state champion.
Gibbons grabbed Schwinden and worked her to the mat with 3 to 4 seconds left, before the Centralia wrestler rolled part of Schwinden's back to the mat as time expired.
Gibbons was awarded two points for the takedown and two more for a near fall, sending the match into sudden-death overtime.
"I thought she wrestled great," Blockley said of his senior wrestler. "There were a couple calls that I didn't think were right. She won the match. I think the ref lost it for her."
Roughly 25 seconds into overtime, Gibbons scored a takedown to claim a state title, as Schwinden's bid for an individual title ended in heartbreak.
"It means a lot," Schwinden said of her second-place finish, "but it still kind of sucks I wasn't first. I have a lot to be proud of."
She certainly does.
Despite three other Mountaineers reaching the semifinals, Schwinden was the only wrestler to advance to a championship match. She earned key points for Baker, which helped the Mountaineers finish second in state. She also improved on last year's fourth-place finish, and for the second year in a row was the Baker girls' highest placer.
"It means a lot," said Schwinden of helping the Mountaineers place as high as they did. "I wanted to make everyone proud, and I wanted our team to do as good as we could have done."
Schwinden received plenty of support from her family and Mount Baker teammates after the tough loss.
"She deserves it so much," said teammate Megan Young of Schwinden reaching the state tournament finals. "She was awesome."
Reach ANDREW LANG at firstname.lastname@example.org or call ext. 862.