Milwaukie's Fiona McConnell claims girls 190-pound wrestling state title
Milwaukie junior Fiona McConnell nailed one, big, powerful move and locked up a state wrestling championship Saturday night.
McConnell pulled Ontario's Abigail Osei off her feet and onto her back for a second-round pin to claim the girls 190-pound title at Saturday's OSAA wrestling state championships at Portland's Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
McConnell was trailing 1-0 when she wrapped her right arm around the back of Osei's head, drove her left hip into Osei's midsection, and threw the Ontario sophomore to the mat 34 seconds into the second round.
"I just took what she gave me," McConnell said. "She was leaving her head open and I was like, 'OK, fine, if you're going to give it to me, I'll take it.'
"I slipped my arm around her, held tight, and I stuck her. I didn't think I was going to be able to do that, but ... hey, it worked."
McConnell went 3-0 in the tournament with three second-round pins, capping a perfect 21-0 season after finishing as the 190-pound runner-up at last year's state tournament.
"It's awesome," said McConnell, the first Milwaukie wrestler to win a girls state title. "I've been kind of sore for most of my matches. My left shoulder got messed up at the regional tournament and then I jammed my right knee today in the semifinals.
"I wasn't feeling great in the final, but I was like, 'You know what? I've just got to wrestle smart and let adrenalin take care of the rest.' Once you get into the match and start focusing on what's in front of you, you're not thinking about where it hurts anymore."
Saturday's final was a rematch of the Feb. 8 North regional final, which McConnell won by a 10-3 decision.
"I wasn't 100 percent sure what to expect this time," McConnell said. "I was a little bit nervous, because she'd wrestled me once before, so I knew that she knew what she was going up against and I knew I'd have to wrestle my best to win again."
There was no scoring in the first round as McConnell and Osei draped one arm over the shoulder's shoulder and did a slow waltz around the mat, sizing up one another as each looked for an opening to make a move.
In the second round, Osei started in the down position and scored an escape off the whistle. The two then settled back into their familiar lock-up stance when McConnell suddenly drove her right arm around the back of Osei's head.
"I was kind of feeling that move out in the first round," McConnell said. "Then I realized that I was starting to get my hand really high up behind her head. I was like, 'OK, if my elbow is sitting on her collarbone, I should be able to throw this, right?'"
McConnell got her answer, throwing her hip into Osei as she pivoted to the right and turned Osei's shoulders toward the mat.
They landed with a thud and before Osei had time to react, the referee slapped the mat for the pin.
"She got me with a really good move," Osei said. "Before the match started, my coach told me to roll through on something like that and I tried. I just didn't roll hard enough. I got stuck.
"A huge disappointment, but I'm looking forward to getting her next time."
McConnell won Friday's quarterfinal match with a second-round pin, taking a 4-1 lead before putting McNary's Dalila Hernandez on her back 10 seconds into the second round.
In Saturday's semifinal, McConnell trailed 5-3 at the end of the first round against Sandy's Olivia Willard, but scored a reversal that turned into a pinning combination 34 seconds into the second round.
Saturday night's final started at 7 p.m., but McConnell and Osei didn't get on the mat until just after 9:45 p.m. in the next-to-last match of the night.
"The waiting was rough," said McConnell, who at least had her experience from last year's tournament to draw from. "That's half of the mind game you play here, because you have all this time to think and think and think about what you're going to do.
"You have to beat that before you get on the mat."
Could the final have gone any better?
"Maybe winning in the first round?" McConnell said. "It could have gone a little bit better, but I think I wrestled the best I've wrestled this whole tournament."
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