Mount Baker’s girls’ wrestling team had already secured another tournament win, another in a long list of successful weekends for the Mountaineers.
But there was still one match left on the mats — the Mountaineers’ Akemi Schwinden against Sehome’s Lisa Hernandez in the 235-pound championship.
It looked like the Mountaineers might add a fifth individual title at the North Sub-Regional Tournament on Saturday, Feb. 7, at Burlington-Edison High School.
Hernandez had other thoughts.
Thirty seconds into the second round, Hernandez flipped the script with a perfectly executed reversal leading to an instantaneous pin.
The Mariners’ lone wrestler in the tournament jumped to her feet and pumped her fist, her coaches and the few fans left in the building applauded for the heavyweight champion. Hernandez had stolen the show.
“I was just thinking I need to get up,” said a winded Hernandez, tears of joy forming in her eyes. “I don’t know what to say. I’m so shocked.”
Despite the loss in the last match, the Mountaineers still put six girls in championship matches and unlike last week’s Lady Wolfpack Tournament, in which all six lost their final matches, Baker won its share on Saturday.
Starting things off on the right foot was Korbyn Cadle (115 pounds), who made short work of Lakewood’s Katie Kortekaas, pinning her in just 1 minute, 14 seconds.
“This week we’ve worked really hard at practice,” Cadle said. “I felt like practice has paid off.”
That sentiment was echoed by Baker coach Clyde Blockley, who said the work the girls put in over the past week is a big reason why their fortunes changed in the championships.
Cadle was followed by Natalie Smith (120) pinning Nooksack Valley’s Emma Bruntil in the second round, and Rachel Nichols’ 17-2 defeat over Mount Vernon’s Dajah Mendiola (145).
It was Jessica Mata’s third-round pin of Lynden’s Kali Spady (130) that was the most intense of the final matches though.
Spady went up 6-2 in the first round before Mata came rallying back, eventually taking a 10-9 lead before getting the pin with 47.4 seconds left.
“It was because I’ve beaten her before,” Mata said of getting down early. “But you should never underestimate anyone because they can go out there and beat anyone. I was like ‘No, this girl is good, so I got to wrestle’ and that’s what I did.”
Nooksack Valley finished second after scoring one champion and three more that reached the final match.
The Pioneers’ champion was Miana Rabang who handily defeated Concrete’s Anjelika Koenig 12-2, despite a rib injury that has put her in “excruciating pain,” Nooksack coach Chad Parson said.
“I was impressed with all our girls tonight,” Parson said. “We’ve talked all week about coming in here and wrestling from the heart and doing what they do best.”
The top six wrestlers in each class moved on to the Regional Tournament, which is Saturday, Feb. 14, at Bellingham High School.
Girls’ wrestling Sub-Regional
1. Mount Baker 224.5, 2. Nooksack Valley 194, 3. Burlington-Edison 123, 4. Mount Vernon 121, 5. Sedro-Woolley 118, 6. Lakewood 96.5, 7. Lynden 96, 8. Stanwood 57, 9. Arlington 49, 10. Concrete 42
100: Leah Olsen (Sedro-Woolley) def. Maria Cazares (Nooksack Valley) 8-1; 105: Teracite Shanes (Sedro-Woolley) pin Robin Hernandez (Arlington) 4:58; 110: Brenda Reyna (Mount Vernon) pin Tommie Mosteller (Lakewood) 3:30; 115: Korbyn Cadle (Mount Baker) pin Katie Kortekaas (Lakewood) 1:14; 120: Natalie Smith (Mount Baker) pin Emma Bruntil (Nooksack Valley) 3:18; 125: Miana Rabang (Nooksack Valley) def. Anjelika Koenig (Concrete) 12-2; 130: Jessica Mata (Mount Baker) pin Kali Spady (Lynden) 5:16; 135: Makayla Jackson (Lakewood) def. Taylor Van Brocklin (Mount Baker) 8-5; 140: Ally De La Cruz (Kamiak) def. Chloe Ammons (Sedro-Woolley) 8-0; 145: Rachel Nichols (Mount Baker) def. Dajah Mendiola (Mount Vernon) 17-2; 155: Leigh Lamay (Mount Vernon) injury default; 170: Ruthie Karlberg (Stanwood) injury default; 190: Frances Zeimantz (La Conner) pin Kaleiolani Jefferson (Nooksack Valley) 4:32; 235: Lisa Hernandez (Sehome) pin Akemi Schwinden (Mount Baker) 3:37.