FIVE GIRLS' WRESTLERS TO WATCH

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDDecember 3, 2013 

NATALIE SMITH

MOUNT BAKER

So., 118

Smith finished her freshman year with a 34-8 record, inevitably being capped by a 2-3 performance at the state tournament which lifted her to an eighth-place finish. The elusive, quick Smith will look to build on five tournament wins last season, and a second-place finish at the Northwest Conference Tournament. She joins a strong supporting cast with several other state qualifiers, but the leap from her first year to the second could be the leap from an eighth-place finish at state to a potential top-four finish.

OLIVIA ADAMS

BLAINE

Jr., 130

Adams returns this year as one of the early favorites to contend for a state title in the 130-pound weight class. She's gone to state her first two years, and last year she finished with a 1-2 record. After winning both the Woolley Women's Wrestling Tournament and Northwest District Sub-Regional tournament, the sky is the limit for the Blaine product.

KYLEE DEKOEKKOEK

NOOKSACK VALLEY

Sr., 145

After placing fourth in state last year, Dekoekkoek has her seights on a state title, and few would contend with her ability to do so. She posted a 32-9 record last year with 26 pins while also winning titles at the Northwest Conference Tournament, Burlington-Edison Tournament, Northwest District Sub-Regional and Regional tournament.

AKEMI SCHWINDEN

MOUNT BAKER

So., 235

After turning in a fourth-place finish at the 2013 Mat Classic as a freshman, the championship aspirations are there. That and the way in which she earned the fourth-place finish - by winning one match by pin and the other by a 10-0 decision - speaks to the sophomores dominant strength and fluid technique that should only improve in her second go around.

LISA HERNANDEZ

SEHOME

Jr., 235

Hernandez capped her strong 2012-13 season by posting a 3-3 record at the state tournament, good for sixth in her weight class. Both her and Mount Baker sophomore Akemi Schwinden - who finished fourth in their 235-pound weight class at state - should compete throughout the season for the right to call themselves the best in their respective weight class.

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