Sports

High school girls wrestling primer: Top wrestlers, teams to watch in 2018-19

Phoenix Dubose wins the championship round of the 115-pound girls weight class at Mat Classic XXX, held in the Tacoma Dome, Feb. 17, 2018.
Phoenix Dubose wins the championship round of the 115-pound girls weight class at Mat Classic XXX, held in the Tacoma Dome, Feb. 17, 2018. phaley@thenewstribune.com

2018-19 HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS WRESTLING PRIMER

Who will dominate the high school wrestling scene in the South Sound during the 2018-19 season? The News Tribune breaks down the top teams and athletes you might see in the Tacoma Dome in February.

Note: Team and individual rankings are from Washington Wrestling Report.

TEAM TO WATCH

Yelm has won the past two team titles at Mat Classic, but lacks the depth it has had in the past. Juniors Brooklyn Cutler (third at 120 pounds in 2017) and Carly Smith (third, 130) are projected to miss the 2018-19 season, and several more key wrestlers graduated last spring. The Tornados do return defending state champion Phoenix Dubose. That opens the door for Federal Way, which has placed in the top four in the Tacoma Dome each of the past three seasons. The Eagles are currently favored to win the 2019 team title, led by freshman Kayla McKinley-Johnson (105), senior Anjilia Sumandig (125) and sophomore London Houston (130), who are each ranked in the top two in their respective weight classes. White River could be another South Sound contender with senior Payton Stroud (125) and sophomore Claire DiCugno (130) each currently holding No. 1 rankings.

FIVE WRESTLERS TO WATCH

Phoenix Dubose, Yelm, sr.: Two-time state finalist won a 115-pound title last year, leading Yelm’s run to back-to-back team titles. Now competes at 120.

Kayla McKinley-Johnson, Federal Way, fr.: Freshman has an impressive resume in youth wrestling, and is the top-ranked wrestler at 105 pounds.

Salyna Shotwell, Rogers, soph.: Took third as a freshman at 110 pounds, and is now the state’s top-ranked wrestler at 115.

Payton Stroud, White River, sr.: Finalist last season at 120 pounds, and three-time state qualifier, is now the top-ranked wrestler at 125.

Ofa He Lotu Tuifua, Kent Meridian, soph.: Reigning state champion at 190 pounds will look to defend the state title.

RETURNING STATE CHAMPIONS

Phoenix Dubose, Yelm, sr. (115); Ofa He Lotu Tuifua, Kent Meridian, soph. (190).

RETURNING STATE PLACERS

Julia Richards, Puyallup, jr. (eighth, 100); Raisa Pleasants, Thomas Jefferson, sr. (fifth, 105); Salyna Shotwell, Rogers, soph. (third, 110); Kenzie Cormier, Enumclaw, jr. (fourth, 110); Anjilia Sumandig, Federal Way, sr. (seventh, 110); Payton Stroud, White River, sr. (second, 120); London Houston, Federal Way, soph. (sixth, 120); Claire DiCugno, White River, soph. (fourth, 125); Ivy Kraght, Kentwood, jr. (third, 135); Alexandria Sanford, Kentwood, jr. (third, 140); Jennifer Kang, Curtis, jr. (fifth, 155); Caylee Collins, Highline, sr. (second, 170); Quinn Lacy, Shelton, sr. (third, 170); Tanya Simora, Puyallup, sr. (sixth, 170); Goddess Ma’Alona-Faletogo, Thomas Jefferson, jr. (seventh, 235).

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Lauren Smith covers the Seattle Mariners for The News Tribune. She previously covered high school sports at TNT and The Olympian, beginning in 2015. She is a graduate of the University of Washington and Emerald Ridge High School.

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