Quincy frosh wins sub-regional wrestling title
Freshman Jaselyn Jones stunned older opponents at the 135-lb. weight class and won first place at the sub-regional tournament in Warden last Saturday.
Jones started her day with a first-round bye, followed by a victory by pin in the first period over Okanogan sophomore Vanessa Cardenas.
Jones then pinned Othello sophomore Leslie Rodriguez in the semifinals with one minute and 18 seconds to go in the first period.
Lastly, Jones pinned senior Emily Carroll of Wenatchee, with one second left in the first period.
When the referee smacked the canvas to signal the pin, Jones stood up wearing a broad smile, which she said was part elation, part relief.
“I heard everybody yell ‘short time,’ and I saw the person with the little thing ready to smack the ref,” Jones said referring to the helper, usually a student, who taps a referee on the back to let him know the round is over. “And as she’s coming down to hit him, he slapped that mat and I didn’t have to go into a second period. It was an amazing feeling.”
Jones had wrestled Carroll before during the regular season and lost, so winning the sub-regional title against her made it more special still.
Jones was one of four Quincy wrestlers to earn tickets to the regional tournament in Spokane this Saturday. Cynthia Diaz, Samantha Schaapman and Cassandra Ruiz all will try to qualify for the state tournament in Tacoma, scheduled for Feb. 17.
Diaz defeated Tonasket’s 110-pounder Cora Diehl in the first period, before throttling Medical Lake’s Haili Threadgill 14-0 in their second-round match.
“I really want to go to state this year,” said Diaz explaining her amped-up performance against Threadgill. “I’m just really trying to push through everything.”
Diaz qualified to state as an alternate last year but did not wrestle.
In the semifinals, Diaz defeated Deer Park’s Sophia Dixon 5-1. In the finals, Diaz lost to her archrival Devin Gamez of Kiona-Benton by first-period pin.
Neither the defeat nor the sore torso could erase Diaz’ good cheer after her day was done. “Doesn’t matter,” she said. “I’m into regionals.”
Cassandra Ruiz finished fourth among 235-pounders. She had a first-round bye and then lost to Anayeli Rodriguez by first-period pin in the second round of the tourney.
After a first-round bye in the consolation bracket, she defeated Almira Coulee Hartline’s Samantha McGuckin, 7-2 and Shadle Park’s Josette Chastain by first-period pin to advance to the bronze-medal match. She faced hometown girl Amanda Contreras, who pinned Ruiz in the first period to take third place.
Schaapman earned a first-round bye before defeating Okanogan’s 190-pounder Crystal Harrison by pin in the third period. Warden’s DaNeil Jolley, the eventual champion, sent Schaapman to the consolation bracket with a pin in the first period.
Then Schaapman defeated East Valley Spokane’s Grace Todhunter with a first-period pin, before losing by a first-period pin to Megen Mason of Newport in the third-place match.
Quincy freshman Xochitl Tafoya finished just shy of earning a trip to Spokane. The fifth-place wrestler qualifies as an alternate, and Tafoya lost the match for fifth place to Rosary Rodriguez of Moses Lake, 5-3.
Quincy coach Mark Kondo praised his team’s performance.
“I thought the girls wrestled really well, not just the ones that made it, but all the girls.”
The most important thing is that the wrestlers improved over the course of the season.
Taking four wrestlers to Spokane exceeds the team’s expectations, Kondo said. The Lady Jacks knew that Diaz and Jones had a pretty good shot at making it to regionals, and “we thought we could get maybe one more,” Kondo said.
“Getting four is a really positive step,” he said, adding that the one who almost made it, Tafoya, competed hard and had a really good season.
The Lady Jacks finished third among more than 30 teams who competed at sub-regionals. First place went to Othello.
Next up is regionals at East Valley High School in Spokane, Saturday morning starting at 11 a.m. The tournament had originally been scheduled for Medical Lake, but it was moved to the same school hosting the boys’ regional tournament.
Out of the four traveling to regionals, one had never wrestled in high school before this year (Jones) and two had never wrestled at all before this year (Ruiz and Schaapman.)
“Regardless of what happens this weekend, I think they have done really well and they have at least given themselves a chance to advance to state,” Kondo said. “Once you get to state, you never know what is going to happen, regardless of what seed you are.”
By Sebastian Moraga, firstname.lastname@example.org