Dallas — The 36 team Lady Dragon Invitational took place at Dallas High School on Saturday, featuring names such as Ariana Martinez, Haley Vann, Paige Chafin, Sophia Redwine, and Destiny Rodriguez among others, providing plenty of star power in Dallas. The drop of defending state champion Thurston due to COVID issues deflated some of the hype, but the rest of the field certainly made up for it through their action on the mat.
St. Helens Impresses In A Tough Field
A team that wasn’t talked about much entering Saturday was the St. Helens Lions, who are led by Kate Leonard, Cinobia Arceneaux, and Kallee Kester. The Lions sent nine wrestlers to Dallas and came away in second place, with the meet title likely in striking distance if it wasn’t for the 22-member force called McKay. On the mat, Leonard came away with a 2nd place finish in the 105 division, falling in a 5-4 decision to Rich Campbell from West Albany. Arceneaux also took second in her division, fighting with West Albany’s Ariana Martinez for 3:16 until she fell to Martinez at that point. Leonard led the Lions with 29 points on the day, Kester put up 21, and Arceneaux had 17 points. In total, the Lions had 105 points and tied for second with Sweet Home. Other notables from St. Helens are Ashley Wilis (5th, 115), Terese Korpela (6th, 120), and Cambria Funk (3rd, 170). The future is bright for this program, who return all their top athletes from this meet next season with the exception of Wilis.
Forest Grove Reps The Points
I guess bringing four wrestlers means a 4th place finish, which is the exact fact that happened with Forest Grove on Saturday. The Vikings brought Makaila Takahashi, Ella Taplin, Jasmine Hopkins, and Kennedy Blanton to Dallas, with the quad group bringing home two individual titles, a 2nd place finish, and a 3rd place finish back to the Grove. Takahashi and Taplin won their classes, bringing in 28 points apiece towards the team effort. Hopkins finished runner-up in the 145 division to Emma Johnson from Centennial, while Blanton took third in the 130 division, both bringing 24 and 19 points respectively for a team total of 99 points. Their 4th place finish is a great showing for Forest Grove, who look to pursue the state title this winter with hopefully plenty of representatives at state.
Guess Who Won? Yep, McKay
As has become a tradition and expectation this season, the Lady Scots took home the overall title in Dallas. Part of the help comes from their insane 22 athlete roster, which greatly inflates point totals for McKay. However, make no mistake about the talent that the Lady Scots do boast on this roster, which will be on display at state this winter. In this chapter, McKay’s 182.5 points were more than enough to win the title, finishing 76.5 points ahead of St. Helens and Sweet Home. Brenda Ceja led the Lady Scots in scoring with 39 points, Anabel Rivera had 28, while Sarahi Chavez and Sharleen Gonzalez tied for third with 24 points each. Chavez finished runner-up in the 100 division, Lizeth Chavez took fourth in the 105 division, and Aaralyn Almonte went fourth in the 115. It is another title weekend for McKay and just more opportunity to tune-up for regionals and state over the next few weeks.
Chelo Garcia and Sophia Redwine Are Lone Wolves, But Also Champions
Sometimes all you need is one athlete to represent the team, which is exactly what Newberg and Siletz Valley/Eddyville Charter have in Sophia Redwine and Chelo Garcia. Redwine is an established wrestler with state titles, while Garcia is an up-and-coming wrestler who broke through as a freshman in 2020. Redwine won the state title in the 100 class as a freshman in 2019, didn’t participate at state in 2020 due to helping the Newberg boys win a state title, but returned to win the state title in the 120 class this Spring.
On the Newberg roster, Redwine is the only female that participates in wrestling, as is Garcia at Siletz Valley/Eddyville Charter. Back in 2020, Garcia took third as a freshman in the 100 class while wrestling for Newport but didn’t participate in the 2021 state championships this Spring. Redwine is the favorite to win again at state in 2022, while Garcia’s breakthrough win over freshman phenom Sarahi Chavez from McKay gives her a shot of confidence and momentum, which will be key to her return to the podium at state in 2022.
List Of Champions
Here is the final list of champions from the Lady Dragon Invitational on Saturday:
Chelo Garcia (Siletz Valley/Eddyville Charter), Rich Campbell (West Albany), Ariana Martinez (West Albany), Courtney Hall (Scappoose), Haley Vann (Cleveland), Sophia Redwine (Newberg), Ayana Medina (Hillsboro), MacKenzie Shearon (Redmond), Makaila Takahashi (Forest Grove), Emma Johnson (Centennial), Destiny Rodriguez (West Linn), Kami Hart (Sweet Home), Ella Taplin (Forest Grove), and Faith Wooley (Liberty)