DEMING - A true Nooksack Valley-Mount Baker matchup will have to wait another year.
This was supposed to be the Mountaineers - a power that's historically topped the Whatcom County girls' wrestling hierarchy - against the Pioneers - Baker's top challenger.
But a myriad of unfortunate circumstances kept half of Nooksack Valley's starters off the wrestling card in what was one of the most anticipated duals this winter.
In fact, Nooksack Valley coach Chad Parson decided to revoke his original wish of cancelling the match or postponing it in an effort to honor the conference schedule.
Mount Baker took advantage.
"We came out and were ready to wrestle," Mountaineers coach Clyde Blockley said. "It doesn't matter, varsity, JV, you know. We came out ready to wrestle."
Mount Baker, which was fresh off a win at the Othello Girls' Wrestling Tournament on Saturday, Jan. 18, earned pins in all eight matches wrestled in a total mat time of 19 minutes, 26 seconds, earning a decisive 66-6 Northwest Conference win against half-strength Nooksack Valley.
Notable absent Pioneers were state returners Chloe Gardner and Kylee Dekoekkoek as well as Candace Rodriguez.
"More than half my team was JV tonight," Nooksack Valley coach Chad Parson said. "We have girls sick, a girl who had a concussion, skin conditions and injuries. ... Baker being our rival, we really wanted to come here and butt heads and put on a good show, but we'll have to make it next year."
Mountaineers Lacey Postlewait (106 pounds), Korbyn Cadle (112), Natalie Smith (118), Nicole Boardman (124), Heidi Chambers (130), Ivy Locke (137), Sylvia Lynch (145) and Onalee Barrett (190) each scored pins. Mount Baker reeled off 66 straight points following Nooksack Valley's only points, a Maria Cazares (100) forfeit.
It was an impressive win, even without Nooksack Valley's best. And the Mountaineers' four seniors relished the senior-night result.
In consecutive matches, Boardman pinned Delaney Cop in 0:18, Chambers pinned Emily Parson in 0:31, Locke pinned Fabiana Hernandez in 4:22 and Lynch pinned Viridiana Melera in 3:06.
"We knew we were going to have to come out here and go head-to-head with them," Chambers said. "They're a good team. For us seniors, it's really good knowing we are going to leave the team and have younger girls come up and take our spots and know they will be able to do the job."
Chambers' fellow senior, Locke, was involved in arguably the most competitive match of the dual. Hernandez and her exchanged leads several times during the first two periods before Locke put Hernandez on her back and scored a pin 22 seconds into the third period.
Blockley said Smith's win against Parson was one of the "biggest matchups of the night."
It was the first time the pair had met this year, and it's a matchup that will almost certainly happen again come postseason.
Smith led 4-2 through the first period and took a 6-2 lead early in the second before earning a pin right before the third period.
Chambers said the lopsided win was representative of Mount Baker's hard work and determination to maintain Mount Baker's sterling reputation as a girls' wrestling power.
"It means we work hard in the room," she said.
Parson said his team should return to full strength by the end of next week.
"What I wanted to get out of this tonight was a comparison, work ethic, look at Baker's work ethic." said the Nooksack Valley coach. "We are going to walk away from this with that learning experience."
Reach Andrew Lang at email@example.com or call 360-756-2862. Follow @bhamsports for Whatcom County sports updates.
MOUNT BAKER 66, NOOKSACK VALLEY 6
100: Maria Cazares (Nooksack Valley) forfeit. 106: Lacey Postlewait (Mount Baker) pin Yazmin San Juan (Nooksack Valley) 2:24. 112: Korbyn Cadle (Mount Baker) pin Paula Carares (Nooksack Valley) 1:23. 118: Natalie Smith (Mount Baker) pin Alex Parson (Nooksack Valley) 3:39. 124: Nicole Boardman (Mount Baker) pin Delaney Cop (Nooksack Valley) 0:18. 130: Heidi Chambers (Mount Baker) pin Emily Parson (Nooksack Valley) 0:31. 137: Ivy Locke (Mount Baker) pin Fabiana Hernandez (Mount Baker) 4:22. 145: Sylvia Lynch (Mount Baker) pin Viridiana Melera (Nooksack Valley) 3:06. 155: Aniecea Camacho (Mount Baker) forfeit. 170: Teeaira Griffin (Mount Baker) forfeit. 190: Onalee Barrett (Mount Baker) pin Kaleiolani Jefferson (Nooksack Valley) 3:43. 235: Akemi Schwinden (Mount Baker) forfeit.
Reach ANDREW LANG at firstname.lastname@example.org or call ext. 862.