Girls wrestling: Sweet Home finishes as first 4A/3A/2A/1A regional champions

Sweet Home won the inaugural OSAA Girls 4A/3A/2A/1A Special District 2 wrestling championship Friday and Saturday, Feb. 10-11, over 51 other teams at Cottage Grove.

In addition to their team title, the Huskies qualified five girls for state and had one individual champion, freshman Bailey Chafin. They had six other placewinners.

Sweet Home fielded 15 wrestlers, finishing with 168 points, followed by La Pine (160), Crook County (96), Hidden Valley and Oakland, which tied for fourth (82) and Siuslaw (79).

La Pine had eight wrestlers. The Huskies had half again the number of any other team in the tournament and it showed as they fielded at least one wrestler in every weight class and scored points in every weight division.

“Winning a regional championship was our goal and we’re happy about it,” Coach Steve Thorpe said. “Now we set our sights on getting a state trophy.”

He said the Huskies “showed up,” which was key to the championships.

“Not everybody gets to go to state, but what happened is we had so many girls score points. When you win the thing in a close race, every point you score is huge.”

Chafin pinned her way through the 125-pound bracket, finishing with a fall over La Pine’s Jade Seymour in the final.

“Bailey dominated her weight class,” Thorpe said. “She’s really worked at it, she’s put in the time. She knows how to wrestle in those big situations.

Two Sweet Home wrestlers also made the finals.

Senior Kendra Jamison finished second at 105 pounds after losing 9-0 in the final to Chelo Barcia of Siletz Valley. The trip to state will be the second for Jamison, who finished fifth last year in the state championships.

“That’s going to help her in state tournament,” Thorpe predicted.

Junior Kaylene Zajic was second at 140 pounds after getting pinned by Hidden Valley’s Megan Peterson in the final.

“Last year she (Zajic)missed qualifying for state by one match,” Thorpe said, adding that qualifying this year is “huge for us, knowing she’s going to be back.

“She’s a girl that I believe can be state placer.”

Sophomore Alyssa Peterson, in her second year of wrestling, was third at 170 pounds, losing by a fall to Cascade’s Evelyn Wirfs in the semis, then beating Hidden Valley’s Joie Wernegreen 9-0 and Toledo’s Quin Lewis by a fall in the consolation bracket.

“Alyssa is awful tough when she gets somebody on their back,” Thorpe said.

Senior Zoey Erevia was fourth at 120, but then pinned MaKay Clark of Henley in a wrestle-back to qualify for state.

Also placing for Sweet Home were freshman Emma Pangle, fifth at 190; junior Mahlia Lane, eighth at 100; and junior Miah Miller, eighth at 145.

“I’ve never had one of these tournaments go exactly as I thought,” Thorpe said. “We had people win matches we didn’t expect and we lost some matches, maybe, that we didn’t expect.

“We had great leadership by girls like Kelsie Rush, who fell a little bit short, but I’m not disappointed. (Junior) Miah Miller made it to Day 2 and first-year wrestler Emma takes fifth. If something happens to one of those ones through fours, she’s in.”

The girls state championships will be held Thursday and Friday, Feb. 23-24, in conjunction with the boys’ tournament at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland.

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