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Lady Cougs capture wrestling championship
Their competitions each took unique turns. But by the end of the day, all eight Lakewood wrestlers ended up on the podium at Juanita High School Feb. 6, hoisting the district championship trophy.
“Our girls just wrestled really, really well,” said Lakewood coach Tom O’Hara. “They were in some tough matches, and in those matches they just did really well, using better technique.”
For junior Keely Caldwell, a two-time state veteran, it only took one match to win the championship at 130 pounds, where she pinned her opponent.
Senior Christina Ordonez saw more competition in her bracket, advancing from the seven-woman field, pinning Ava Klein of Garfield and Brandae Grein of Interlake to be named champion of her sub-regional bracket at 152 pounds. Like Caldwell, Ordonez pinned her opponents for the win.
Senior Amanda Gregory had the toughest road to her bracket championship. She advanced to the championship match with a first-round bye and second-round pin, where she faced Redmond’s Catherine Kelly in a rematch from a tournament at Meridian earlier this season.
“She wanted to beat me bad,” Gregory said. “She came into it more mentally ready.”
The girls were tied 4-4 in the third round, with Kelly on top.
“I knew I had to get out,” she said.
Gregory scored a point escaping Kelly and a stall warning from the official wasn’t enough to force overtime as Gregory won a 5-4 decision.
O’Hara wasn’t surprised by his three champions, saying each has special qualities that lead to their success. For Ordonez, it’s what her coach calls “gorilla strength,” a quality attributed to him during his own wrestling days. Caldwell has a lot of wrestling experience and good speed. Gregory is athletic and enjoys a height advantage. The senior is almost six feet tall and yet competes in one of the lightest weight categories, making her hard for a shorter opponent to bring down.
Gregory credited the bond among the girls as driving the team’s success. With the girls’ competition taking place on just one mat, the rest of the team lined up along one side to cheer for their teammates as they took their turn, she said.
Seven of the eight Lakewood girls placed in top four of their bracket, qualifying them for a regional competition at Liberty High School in Renton. Senior Autumn Novak automatically qualified for the tournament at 160 pounds, the only wrestler at that class.
Sophomore Tasha Postlewaite took second place at 135 pounds, advancing to the bracket final after a big win against Garfield’s Josie Walner in the semifinal.
“Tasha wasn’t even in a close match, trailing 11-2,” O’Hara said. “But the other girl started getting tired.”
Postlewaite pinned Walner, earning a championship round with Lakeside senior Sara Scott.
At 140 pounds, senior Chelsea Favro placed third, rebounding from a second-round loss with wins by technical fall and pin to continue her season. Junior Haley Favro will also advance, placing fourth at 125 pounds.