Bella Amaro takes third, Emma Jones finishes fourth; both look to the future with Indians program

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: TANNER RUSS - Bella Amaro of Scappoose High wrestles in the 125-pound division on her way to third place in the state girls championship at Veterans Memorial Coliseum.A year of progress in girls wrestling had two Scappoose athletes place in the state championships — and come away wanting more.

Freshman Bella Amaro took third at 125 pounds and junior Emma Jones was fourth at 110 in the Feb. 22 tournament at Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Another Indian, Belle Erhardt, competed at 145.

Amaro bounced back from a semifinal loss to Phoenix junior Emma Truex by pinning Thurston sophomore Cailee Hallett in 2:26 of the second round. Amaro said she was satisfied with her performance in the semis but determined to do better with the third-place medal on the line.

"I think I wrestled really well (in the semis), especially considering (Truex) is a lot older than I am and it was my first time (at the high school state meet)," Amaro said. "I was leading 1-0, but just ended up being caught. After that, I thought, 'I'm not going to let myself get fourth, I'm going to win this next match, I'm going to wrestle as hard as I can.'"

Amaro said she had to be aggressive "and I knew while wrestling (Hallett) that I had better technique, so I was like, 'Bella, you have to shoot right now, because I knew her legs were open, so I just shot and brought her down and pinned her in an arm bar."

Jones, who like Amaro had qualified for state by finishing second in the Northern Division championships, dropped her two state matches by fall but was excited to be on the mat at state, a place she had been a spectator for many years while watching her father coach and her brother wrestle. "I was really cool to go there and compete," Jones said. " It was something I didn't think I'd ever be able to do."

Jones, who also stars in soccer and track, went 15-5 this season. She wants to "put in some wrestling work in the offseason and come back more ready" for next season — while hopefully recruiting even more girls to the sport after the team grew to nine full-time grapplers in 2019.

Amaro (25-4 this season) also will be busy in the offseason, training both at school and at a club in Portland and eyeing a spot in the national tournament.

Wrestling takes a lot of self-motivation, she said, "and you have to practice, and not be thinking 'I have to be here' but 'I want to be here.'"

She said wrestling is her favorite sport largely because of what it demands individually.

"I think it's more fun than team sports because it's just you," she said. "The harder the work, the more you'll win. And you can't blame it on anyone else."

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