Defending state girls wrestling champion Yelm has passed every test this season.
And that includes its biggest one Saturday — win the Region II team title.
In what many expect to be the Mat Classic team showdown, the Tornados edged Federal Way, 140-134, for the regional crown at Decatur High School.
Yelm will send six wrestlers to next weekend’s Mat Classic XXX at the Tacoma Dome, including two regional winners — Phoenix Dubose at 115 pounds (4-0 winner over Lincoln’s Jamayia Blackston) and Carly Smith at 130 (won by injury forfeit over Decatur’s Paige Dasher).
Tornados girls coach Amy Earley called it a near-perfect showing.
“It was a very stressful weekend,” Earley said. “Just the added pressure of being the reigning state champion, everyone is looking at you, ‘Are you going to be able to defend it?’ It has been kind of crazy.”
One thing is for sure, nothing will catch the Tornados off guard this time around.
A year ago, it was the Eagles who captured the regional title over Yelm. But a week later, the Tornados — behind runner-up finishes by Dubose, Smith and Ariana Zemke, returned the favor, winning 97-91.
“The spirit of the team is really high,” Earley said. “They’ve been goofy. They are having fun. And they are getting along.”
3A REGION II BOYS
Yelm’s Derrick Platt captured the 182-pound championship at Gig Harbor High School — the only local title at the 3A boys regional tournament.
Platt worked his way to a decisive lead, 10-2, by the third round with an arsenal of takedowns and near falls that seemed to quickly sap the energy of Spanaway Lake’s Dominic Leito-Mills.
By the third round, Platt’s work rate caused an injury to Leito-Mills, giving Platt the title by injury default.
Platt wasn’t the lone Tornado in the finals, as teammates Gavin Stewart (120 pounds), Chayton Miller (160) and Jason Nelson (170) all took home runner-up finishes.
Yelm’s Miller hurt his back in the 160-pound finals after being slammed down by Gig Harbor’s Zayne Ball, causing Miller to forfeit the title due to injury. Miller’s status for next week’s Mat Classic in to be determined.
Shelton’s Robert Allred finished was the runner-up at 132 pound, and North Thurston’s Kai Burgman was the runner-up at 220.