Baker girls strive for team honors, not individual

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDFebruary 8, 2014 

BURLINGTON -- Nicole Boardman doesn't just want to help Mount Baker win a state team title in girls' wrestling, or to fulfill her second priority of an individual championship.

She wants to have fellow senior Heidi Chambers in the 124-pound state championship match, as well, and take a chance on losing to a teammate.

"It's definitely possible we could both be in the (state) finals," said Boardman, who had to hold off a furious comeback in the final seconds by Chambers to take a 4-3 win in the Northwest District Sub-Regional title on Saturday, Feb. 8, at Burlington-Edison High School.

"That would be awesome," said Boardman, who along with Chambers scored more than their share of points as the Mountaineers claimed the Sub-Regional title with 273 points to Burlington's 213 and Sedro-Woolley's 207. "Our match today could have gone either way."

As for the title of the state finals - for which there are no classifications - "I think we can do it for Mount Baker," Boardman said. "I would take a team title over the individual championship because then we could all celebrate together. We're a very close team."

Indeed, it was not possible to find a single Baker girl who was more interested in individual honors than what would be a historic team accomplishment.

"I think it's cool that we get to go up against the largest schools and try to win state," said Boardman, who helped Baker to a close second place behind Warden last year.

Another of Baker's five Sub-Regional champions, Aniecea Camacho, couldn't agree more with Boardman.

"My goal is to help the team take first," said Camacho, a powerful sophomore who took the 155-pound honors with a pin at 3:15 after earning a 5-0 lead against Sedro-Woolley's Cheyenne Ammons. "That's what I want most."

Northwest Conference wrestlers claimed 10 of the 12 weight divisions, beginning with Baker junior Lacey Postelwait's 14-6 decision over Sedro-Woolley's Teracita Shanes at 100 pounds.

"I had a good fight; I didn't give up," said Postelwait, who moved down from 106 pounds at her wish.

Baker sophomore Natalie Smith scored three pins in as many matches at 118. She scored a fall at 3:04 against Burlington's gutty Hannah Holmes, who refused to take an injury default even though she had already clinched a spot in the Northwest District Regional on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 14-15, at Bellingham High School.

Baker sophomore Akemi Schwinden might have had three pins as well, but had a bye in the first round at 235 pounds. She pinned state-meet veteran Lisa Hernandez, a Sehome student who wrestles for the Bellingham co-op team, 21/2 minutes into their match.

The other titlists from NWC schools were Bellingham junior Jasmine Cuellar, a wrestling rookie who pinned Nooksack Valley's Yazmin SanJuan in 3:54 at 106; Blaine junior Olivia Adams, who won by injury default in overtime against Lynden's Shannon Gee at 130; Sedro-Woolley's Taylor Dawson, who pinned teammate Chloe Ammons in 3:37 at 137; Nooksack senior Chloe Gardner, who scored her third pin at 4:36 against Stanwood's Brooke Dogget at 145; and Burlington's Delisha Hodges, who pinned Lynden sophomore Thalia Veliz at 2:57.

Gardner, who said she's aiming at nothing less than a state championship at 145 pounds, her natural weight, was also celebrating signing a letter-of-intent with Skagit Valley College in softball.

"I signed on Wednesday," said Gardner, who began wrestling as a sophomore, finished third at state last year, and has grown to love the sport. "Softball is still my first love, but wrestling has become a close second."

In fact, Gardner credits wrestling with making her a college power-hitting softball prospect.

Bellingham co-op coach Jaron Kensok was so ecstatic over Cuellar's title at 106 that he rushed over and picked her up with sheer joy.

"Jasmine is just fantastic for a first-year wrestler," he said.

Cuellar readily acknowledged that "I didn't expect to get this far in my first year. Coach Kensok encourages me and believes in me and makes me believe in myself. After a couple of tournaments, I said, 'This is definitely my sport.' When he picked me up, I was like, 'Oh gosh, he's so happy.'"

Smith credits special conditioning lessons, called "insanity videos," with helping her achieve a remarkable fitness level at Mount Baker.

"This really was a good day," said Smith, who also said she loves the fact that girls still have only one class in wrestling, meaning a genuine state champion can be declared in each weight. She is taking dead aim at 118.

Nooksack senior Alex Parson absorbed a 4-0 defeat to Granite Falls' Danielle Crawford in the 118-pound final, but Pioneers coaches Chad Parson and Michelle Dekoekkoek were quick to note that Crawford ranks No. 1 statewide.

"One of the coaches congratulated us because Alex did an outstanding job in holding Crawford to four points," said Chad Parson.

Adams felt bad that Gee sustained a shoulder injury 45 seconds into overtime. Adams set up the extra period by rallying from a 7-2 first-quarter deficit.

"Shannon Gee is very tough," Adams said. "She's the only girl who has beaten me this season, and she's done it twice. She's my friend and I really hope she can keep going."

Lynden coach Santos Gallegos said, "It will be the doctor's call" whether Gee can go in the Regional.

Mount Baker 190-pounder Onalee Barrett, a promising junior, scored two pins before suffering a fall at 5:37 against La Conner's Frances Zeimantz.

Eight Whatcom County girls won third-place matches (all girls in the championship and third-place matches qualified for Regional competition). They included Lynden's Emily Gallegos (100), Maria Ortiz (106) and Kara Bouwman (235), Mount Baker's Sylvia Lynch (130), Jessica Mata (136) and Jordan Horsman (170), and Nooksack's Kylee Dekoekkoek (155) and Kaleiolani Jefferson (190).

Thirteen schools scored in the Sub-Regional, including fourth-place Nooksack (147), fifth-place Lynden (123), sixth-place Bellingham co-op (68) and eighth-place Blaine (35).

In all, 101 girls competed in what Lynden coach Gallegos called the biggest Sub-Regional yet.

"That's great. Wrestling interest is really growing," he said.

NORTHWEST DISTRICT GIRLS' SUB-REGIONAL

(All girls in first-place and third-place matches advance to Regionals)

MOUNT BAKER 273, BURLINGTON-EDISON 213, SEDRO-WOOLLEY 207, NOOKSACK VALLEY 147, LYNDEN 123, BELLINGHAM CO-OP 68, STANWOOD 66, BLAINE 35, GRANITE FALLS 28, LA CONNER 28, CONCRETE 22, ANACORTES 17, FRIDAY HARBOR 7.

Championship matches

100: Lacey Postelwait (MB) dec. Terecita Shanes (S-W) 14-6; 106: Jasmine Cuellar (Bell) p. Yazmin SanJuan (NV) 3:54; 112: Danielle Crawford (GF) dec. Alex Parson (NV) 4-0; 118: Natalie Smith (MB) p. Hannah Holmes (B-E) 3:04; 124: Nicole Boardman (MB) dec. Heidi Chambers (MB) 4-3; 130: Olivia Adams (Blaine) by injury default in overtime over Shannon Gee (Lyn); 137: Taylor Dawson (S-W) p. Chloe Ammons (S-W) 3:37; 145: Chloe Gardner (NV) p. Brooke Dogget (Stan) 4:36; 155: Aniecea Camacho (MB) p. Cheyenne Ammons (S-W) 3:15; 170: Delisha Hodges (B-E) p. Thalia Veliz (Lyn) 2:57; 190: Frances Zeimantz (LaC) p. Onalee Barrett (MB) 5:37; 235: Akemi Schwinden (MB) p. Lisa Hernandez (Bell) 2:30.

Third-place matches

100: Emily Gallegos (Lyn) dec. Maria Cazares (NV) 5-2; 106: Jazmin Becerra (B-E) p. Kaylyn Barnes (S-W) 2:13; 112: Tori Barnes (S-W) dec. Korbyn Cadle (MB) 15-8; 118: Maria Ortiz (Lyn) p. Maddie Moser (S-W); 124: Anjelika Koenig (Concrete) p. Gabriela Herrera (Lyn)) 2:14; 130: Sylvia Lynch (MB) p. Aubrey Butler (Stan) 4:01; 137: Jessica Mata (MB) by injury default over Courtney Johnson (B-E); 145: Shelby Burress (B-E) dec. Rachel Nichols (MB) 6-5; 155: Kylee Dekoekkoek (NV) p. Rebekka Matthews (S-W); 170: Jordan Horsman (MB) p. Dajah Mendiola (S-W); 190: Kaleiolani Jefferson (NV) p. Tarissa Toth (Ana); 235: Kara Bouwman (Lyn) p. Shasha Shaw (B-E) 2:51.

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