Mount Baker’s girls’ wrestling team took first with a score of 205 and six second-place finishers at the Lady Wolfpack Inviational on Saturday, Jan. 31, at Jackson High School in Mill Creek.
Baker’s second-place finishers were Michelle Mata (100-pound weight class), Korbyn Cadle (115), Natalie Smith (120), Jessca Mata (135), Anicea Camacho (155) and Akemi Schwinden (235).
“(Natalie Smith) wrestled a two-time state champion and only lost 9-4,” Mount Baker coach Clyde Blockley said in a phone interview. “She came out ready to wrestle. She knew the girl and last year it would have bothered her that she had to face a better girl who she knew, but this year she’s more focused and headstrong and believes she can win.”
The invitational featured 42 schools.
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One champion from Whatcom County was Lynden’s Kali Spadey at 130 pounds. Spadey almost wasn’t given the opportunity to win the title, as the tournament originally had her being “pig-tailed” into the tournament until Lynden coach Santos Gallegos convinced the organizers to give her a seed.
“That’s Kali’s first first-place finish,” Gallegos said in a phone interview. “She wrestled good-caliber wrestlers. She’d get taken down and reverse, and we were like, ‘Wow, you are on fire today.’ We told her that she’d have to prove herself and boy, did she make a statement today. She showed a lot of people.”
Alexis Garcia was Lynden’s other medalist at 170 pounds. She took third.
Blaine’s Olivia Adams won the 140-pound class with pins in each of her four matches.
Sehome’s Lisa Hernandez took third in the 235-pound weight class, and Squalicum’s Mika Markishtum took third in the 140-pound weight class.
“Mika wrestled particularly well. She had some of her best matches,” Bellingham schools coach Chantell Bertollini said in a phone interview. “She’s been working on technique. She did well with continuous movement, not being idle on the mat. Just constant motion and she did really well.”
The next girls’ wrestling event is the first day of the Sub-Regional Tournament at 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 6, at Burlington-Edison.