TACOMA — A year ago, Stephanie Simon left the Tacoma Dome feeling that she let her opponent’s reputation rob her of a state title.
On Saturday, she was not going to let anything deny her.
The Evergreen senior pinned Lateah Holmes of Fife 2:57 into the girls 145-pound championship match at Mat Classic XXIV.
Simon, a runner-up at state last season, said she was not going to let the reputation of her opponent or a sore left ankle become an issue.
“There’s not one person out there who has something that I don’t,” Simon said. “We all have legs and we all have arms. We go to the same practices. We’re all wrestlers. It’s not like they have anything more than I do.”
Simon did walk away with a state title, something that eluded a half-dozen other Clark County wrestlers on Saturday night.
Simon pinned Holmes earlier this season, which added to her confidence on Saturday night.
“I just knew that I could dominate her, based on my good stance and my good shots,” Simon said.
Simon took a quick lead in the first period, then finished things with the pin midway through the second — just as the public address announcer was introducing her to the crowd.
It was, she said, an amazing way to finish her wrestling career. Simon plans to attend the Naval Academy after graduating from Evergreen.
“I watched her shoulder blade go down, slower and slower,” Simon said of her final seconds on the mat, “then I heard the pin.”
The sound of an official’s hand slapping the mat was much different for Battle Ground junior Mixtly Simon. She took a lead into the third period of the girls 195-pound final but was pinned by Centralia freshman Ryan Gibbons 28 seconds into the third period. Gibbons had also edged Mixtly Simon in the regional finals.
The other Clark County girl in a championship match also lost. Kyra Batara of Mountain View lost 4-0 to Yodi Lawes of Bonney Lake in a battle of seniors at 112 pounds. It was the first loss at that weight this season for Batara, who had lost one tournament final at 118 pounds,
“I wasn’t nervous until I stepped on the mat,” said a disappointed Batara. “When I stepped on the mat, it hit me that this was my last match to ever wrestle. A lot was going through my head.’
The finals produced head-spinning disappointment for several Clark County wrestlers.
Hudson’s Bay senior Emilio Alcantar, in a state final for the first time since he was a runner-up as a freshman, was tied entering the third period of the Class 3A final at 152 pounds with Billy Goforth of Mount Spokane but lost a back-and-forth battle, 11-9.
Ridgefield junior John White, who said he was pleasantly surprised to be in the 220-pound Class 1A final, suffered a difficult 4-3 triple-overtime loss to Dewey Bender of Riverside-Chattaroy.
“I was looking to tie up with him, but he wouldn’t give that to me,” White said. “It was a tough match. Strong kid.”
La Center senior Patrick Mayolo was pinned by Orting’s Shannon Maris in the third period of the Class 1A final at 138 pounds.
“I knew if I worked my offense and kept the pressure on him I had a chance. I just didn’t do that today,” Mayolo said. “He’s a tough kid. He’s got a real tough cradle. The long, strong kids are tough to beat.”
Five other Clark County wrestlers placed in the Class 3A tournament.
After a tough overtime loss in the semifinals, Camas senior Tyler Weiss won twice to take third place at 132 pounds.
After a 2-1 loss in the 182-pound semifinals, Prairie senior Cody Geary won twice to place third.
Hudson’s Bay sophomore Aaron Blaine won four consolation matches to climb to third place at 138 pounds after a quarterfinal loss.
Camas sophomore Marcus Hartman (113) and Hudson’s Bay senior Anniru Kamara (145) each placed seventh.
In the Class 1A tournament, Stevenson had seven medal winners. They were: sophomore Tyler Miller (fifth at 126), junior Jacob Schneider (fifth at 138), senior Karl Bell (fifth at 145), senior Andrew Ledesma (sixth at 152), senior Alex McCrum (fifth at 160), senior Matt Maddux (eighth at 170) and senior Marcus Carter was fifth at 220.
Ridgefield, junior Clayton Farr was seventh at 160 and sophomore Casey Oviatt placed eighth at 106,
Two locals placed sixth in the Class 2A tournament: Woodland sophomore Andrew Bosch 106 pounds and Washougal sophomore Stephen Camden at 160 pounds.
Also winning medals in the girls tournament were: Prairie’s Quinn O’Bryant (eighth at 106 pounds), Skyview’s Tiffany Hu (eighth at 118), Washougal’s Haven Camden (fourth at 124), and Washougal sophomore Erin Locke placed eighth at 130.