St. Helens girls' wrestlers leading ladies
Kara Smith, Megan Oyler and Quinnlyn Coddington will use their holiday break in preparation for the Pacific Rim Tournament -- hailed the top competition of the new year -- Jan. 5-6 in Seaside.
Smith won the 146-161-pound championship, Oyler came up second at 263-274 and Coddington rumbled to fourth at 158-177 at the Liberty Tournament Saturday, Dec. 16, in Hillsboro.
"Next year there's talk of an actual girls' division," said Smith, a senior second-year wrestler whose bouts were intramural last year and who recalls that some male rivals can't imagine facing a girl. "[Inclusion is] way different than last year: Some coaches and players and even refs feel girls wrestle differently."
Smith pinned Class 6A Centennial sophomore Simone Willingham in 3 minutes, 59 seconds in the quarterfinal, cleared Hillsboro junior Mercedez Armas in 1:05 in the semifinal and bounced Class 6A Cleveland freshman Ada Novak in 1:51 for the crown.
Oyler, a junior, fell to Warrenton junior Ruby Dyer -- her only opponent in the two-seed bracket -- in 2:36.
"Kara told me to come wrestle, and it doesn't matter if you're a girl or guy," Oyler said. "You earn respect, and I'm figuring it out. At heavyweight, whoever hits the ground first will probably lose."
Coddington fell to Warrenton junior Noel O'Bryan in a quarterfinal minute, pinned Class 6A Century freshman Eliana Regory in 1:32 in the first consolation round and Regory's junior teammate Carla Vega-Cruz in the consolation semifinal, and fell 5-4 to Class 6A Tualatin freshman Vanessa Bautista in the third-place match.
"It's a lot different from other sports I've played," said Coddington, a senior. "We watch every match and support each other, and we're definitely excited."
Lions practice benefits from appearances by alumni including 2017 Class 5A heavyweight champion Miguel Olmedo and his brother Mario, Zach Gadbois, Ben Gadbois, Haidon Allen, Colton Albertson and Colton Beisley, who help to bring this year's wrestlers up.
The Pac-Rim is a soiree for the girls to impress, and between then and now are the Clatskanie Invitational Dec. 30 and a dual at Parkrose Jan. 4 in Portland.
"I think the girls have done great this year," St. Helens coach Greg Gadbois said. "They are some of the hardest workers on the team, and it has really paid off for them: Kara in particular has taken on a bigger leadership role in the room and also is a big part of helping our younger wrestlers as a coach in our kids club."
LIBERTY GIRLS' TOURNAMENT
Saturday, Dec. 16, at Liberty High School, in Hillsboro
146-161 Kara Smith first
Quarterfinal: Smith pinned Simone Wellingham, Centennial, 3:59; Semifinal: Smith pinned Mercedez Armas, Hillsboro, 1:05; First-place match: Smith pinned Ada Novak, Cleveland, 1:51.
158-177 Quinnlyn Coddington fourth
Quarterfinal: Noel O'Bryan, Warrenton, pinned Coddington, 1:00; Consolation round 1: Coddington pinned Eliana Regory, Century, 1:32; Consolation semifinal: Coddington pinned Carla Vega-Cruz, Century, 2:03; Third-place match: Vanessa Bautista, Tualatin, def. Coddington, 5-4.
263-274 Megan Oyler second
Semifinal: Oyler received a bye; First-place match: Ruby Dyer, Warrenton, pinned Oyler, 2:36.
1. Hood River Valley, 189
2. Century 140
3. Warrenton 125
4. Hillsboro 119
5. Westview 107
6. Liberty 94
7. David Douglas 64
8. Centennial 61
9. McNary 52
10. Scapoose 52
11. St Helens 49
12. Lake Oswego 38
13. Vernonia 36
14. Milwaukie 26
15. Glencoe 25.5
16. Cleveland 25
17. Banks 18
18. Dallas 17
19 Tualatin 16
20. McMinnville 0