Mount Baker’s Akemi Schwinden, Jessica Mata and Natalie Smith took home titles in their respective divisions at the Woolley Women’s Wrestling Tournament on Saturday, Jan. 3, at Sedro-Woolley, helping the Mountaineers to a first-place finish with 174 points.
Mata won the 130-pound division, Smith won the 120-pound division and Schwinden was the winner of the 235-pound weight class.
Schwinden’s win was especially big.
“The final was her fourth match back from a blown knee from last year,” Mount Baker coach Clyde Blockley said in a phone interview. “Akemi tweaked her knee in first round (of the final), but gutted out a 2-0 win.”
Mata also showed some resiliency.
“Jessica Mata wrestled a girl last week that beat her 9-7, this week she pinned her,” Blockley added. “She was more aggressive, just came out and dominated the girl this time.”
Baker also had second-place finishes from Marissa Amarando (140 pounds) and Aneese Camacho (155).
Nooksack Valley, which finished seventh despite taking only seven wrestlers, had a second-place finisher in Nicole Wittern at 105.
“Nicole is a freshman and she wrestled Katie Kortekaas, who was fourth at regionals last year,” Nooksack Valley coach Michelle Dekoekkek said in a phone interview. “Nicole beat her in the semis, which was big for us.”
Lynden’s top finisher was Emily Gallegos (100) who took third in her division, but the big surprise from the Lions was 6th-place Elizabeth Estavez at 140 pounds.
“She’s shorter than average wrestler, wrestling taller girls, and this year she said, ‘Coach, I’m going to go in and do my thing and practice harder,’” Lynden coach Santos Gallegos said in a phone interview. “She has been practicing one move and she hit it first try, she’s just smiling and the girl was like two feet taller. The other girl walked off the mat and said, ‘Coach, she got me.’ (Estavez) surprised a lot of people today, even us.”
Lynden also placed Krystal Cruz (fifth) at 100 pounds, Krina Martinez (fourth) at 130 pounds, Kali Spadey (sixth) at 135 pounds and Thalia Veliz (fourth) at 170 pounds.
Nooksack Valley also had medalists Yazmin San Juan (third) at 100 pounds, Emma Bruntil (sixth) at 120, Lynette Samano (third) at 125 and Emily Parson (fifth) at 140.
Mount Baker’s other medalists were Taylor Van Brocklin (third) at 135, Michelle Mata (fifth) at 105 and Corbin Cato (fifth) at 115.
The Lions were fifth as a team, with Nookasck Valley taking seventh and the Bellingham Co-op team in ninth out of 25 teams.