Redwine will compete in boys' state title hunt
After winning a state championship in the girls' 100 pound weight class last season, Newberg sophomore Sophia Redwine will forgo the girls' competition this year and instead wrestle in the boys' state championships this weekend at Memorial Coliseum in Portland.
Redwine will join nearly two dozen teammates in pursuit of a team title for Newberg and she will be the first girl ever to wrestle for the Tigers in the boys' championships.
The reason for the decision was simple for Redwine, who comes into state as the No. 6 seed at 106 pounds with a 20-14 record.
"I wanted to contribute team points towards Newberg," she said. "With the girls' competition they don't factor that into the overall team score and all I'm after is increasing our chances of winning state. I feel like I can help out my teammates."
After qualifying for both, Redwine was forced to choose between the boys' and girls' championships because of OSAA rules. In an ideal world, she said she would have liked to compete on both sides, but she is happy to sacrifice for the success of her team.
"It's just more time on the mat and the more experience I can get, the better," she said. "It adds up to more time and experience that I need to get better."
If Redwine had competed on the girls' side this season, she almost assuredly would have won a second consecutive state championship after winning her first as a freshman. She finished second in the 106-pound weight class in the boys' Pacific Conference meet last week and earned an automatic qualification to state, one week after winning the girls' qualifying tournament in her weight class.
Redwine's No. 6 seed at state gives her a bye in the first round before taking on the winner of a matchup between freshmen Juan Elenes (Westview) and Ismael Flores (McKay). If she can pull some upsets in her route through the championship bracket, she could end up as the highest placing girl ever in the boys' competition. Alexys Zepeda from Gervais placed third in the 3A competition in 2018 – the best finish for a girl in any classification of the boys' tourney.
The history of Redwine's achievement as the first Newberg girl to wrestle against the boys at state isn't lost on her. She knows what it will mean to other young girls who aspire to her level of success on the mat.
"It's nice to start things off, because I know there will be more girls that follow me," Redwine said. "More and more girls will be part of the program and will wrestle against the guys at state. For me, I see this decision as helping out our team more than anything."
The last year has been about development for Redwine, who spent most of last season wrestling against girls with the occasional appearance in the boys' varsity lineup. This year she was a regular in that lineup and competed against some of the top boys in her weight class from around the state.
Between last season and this one, she also competed in national tournaments in Las Vegas and North Dakota, where she faced elite female wrestlers from around the country. She won the Greco-Roman tournament in Las Vegas and finished second in the freestyle portion of that competition. And although she didn't place in Fargo, she hopes to do so this year.
"I feel like I'm developing really well," Redwine said. "I'm progressing in my technique and wrestling with the guys has definitely helped. It's making me better so that it's more fun when I compete on the girls' side.
"Guys have more muscle mass and are a bit stronger, but girls are faster and more flexible. I have to change how I wrestle for each. There are different challenges there for sure."
Whether she makes history as the highest placing girl in the history of state competition or she amasses crucial points for her team in the consolation portion of the championships, Redwine will be a key factor in Newberg's title chase on Friday and Saturday. The Tigers have competitors across nearly every weight class and some weights have two Newberg wrestlers –both of them seeded. A full schedule of matches for the OSAA wrestling state championships is available on OSAA.org and TrackWrestling.com.
For Redwine, the run at state will be like many of the matches she's found herself in throughout this season, whether they were at the Oregon Classic in Redmond or any other dual meet the Tigers found themselves in. She said she is driven to succeed on her team's behalf and help the Tigers capture a state crown.
"I care a lot about my team," she said. "Everyone on our team is a phenomenal wrestler and we've worked every day for the spot we're in right now."
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