If Feb. 18 was the last time Stephanie Simon does battle on a wrestling mat, it was a fine finale.
In her third trip to Mat Classic, the Evergreen senior capped her high school wrestling career by capturing the state title at 145 pounds, pinning Lateah Holmes of Fife to win her first state title.
That accomplishment capped a season in which Simon did not lose a match to a female foe. Those successes make her the choice for The Columbian’s All-Region girls wrestler of the year.
Simon started wrestling as a sixth-grader at Cascade Middle School, joining friends Michael and Matthew Nguyen at practice. At first, she said she enjoyed the attention she got when she would defeat a boy.
“I guess by eighth grade I realized that it’s not really just about beating boys,” she said. “It’s a really cool sport that’s actually worth my time.”
Simon played basketball as a freshman at Evergreen, but said that experience convinced her that wrestling was the sport for her.
Girls have had their own state tournament in high school wrestling for six years. Simon lost to the eventual state champion and placed third as a sophomore. She was a runner-up as a junior. She plans to attend the Naval Academy after spending some time at the Academy’s prep school.
“The worst part is knowing that I’m probably never going to wrestle again,” she said.
Stephanie won her first state title, winning all four of her state tournament matches with pins.
Her favorite win was the regional finals, a 17-10 win over Charisse Jackson from Taholah High School. Stephanie was thrown to her back, but rallied.
Stephanie did not lose a match against a girl this season.
More about Stephanie
Stephanie suffered a knee injury days before the state tournament in her junior season. She wrestled anyway and finished second that year. She yet hasn’t had the suspected meniscus injury repaired
Stephanie was a top-four finisher last summer at a national tournament at Fargo, N.D., success she said helped her confidence. “I figured if I can place top four in the country, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t win the state tournament,” she said.
Next year and beyond
Stephanie plans to attend the Naval Academy. She said she will go to the Academy’s prep school after graduating from Evergreen.
“You’re the best in the state. No question about it. Just do what you do. Just wrestle.” Stephanie Simon Evergreen girls wrestler, describing her coaches’ advice to her when she worried about the state tournament
Rest of All-Region team
Kyra Batara, sr., Mountain View: Placed second at state tournament at 112 pounds.
Haven Camden, fr., Washougal: Placed sixth at state tournament at 124 pounds.
Rose Eram, so., Mountain View: Placed eighth at state at 265 pounds; regional champion.
Tiffany Hu, sr., Union: Placed eighth at state at 118 pounds; regional champion.
Mixtly Simon, jr., Battle Ground: Placed second at state tournament at 195 pounds.
Kassi Strano, jr., Battle Ground: Placed sixth at state tournament at 100 pounds.