KELSO — Skyview sophomore Jaelyn Sayler looked finished.
After staving off a pin in the final seconds of the opening period of her 235-pound championship match with Curtis’ Marylinn Auelua, she grimaced in pain, unable to put weight on her left leg.
She looked toward her coaches and made the decision to continue on, taking top position for the second period.
Within 53 seconds, she had what she sought: a regional championship.
“I’m thinking ‘I really want this,'” Sayler said of her mindset during the match. “Because I just got injured and I don’t want to lose and be injured and have lost. I want to be like ‘I powered through and I won even though I was injured.'”
Sayler follows in the footsteps of her sister, Cece, who won a regional title in 2018. Cece Sayler’s wrestling career ended by injury default at 2018 Mat Classic.
“I’m just really proud,” Jaelyn Sayler said of her victory. “My sister wrestled and I want to make her proud too. She didn’t get the chance to be a state champ but I want to honor her by placing at state.”
Jaelyn Sayler was one of seven local girls who won regional championships on Saturday at Kelso High. Seven of the 10 locals who made the finals won their championship matches.
That included Hudson’s Bay’s Allison Blaine (135), who spent 110 seconds over three matches Saturday to earn her third regional title. She was denied a fourth regional crown because of the postponement of last year’s regionals due to inclement weather.
“It would be really, really really great if it was a four-time one,” Blaine said. “I’ve never lost at regionals but last year, it got snowed out. So now I’m still only a three-time. That sucks, but I’m looking forward to state.”
Blaine topped Rogers’ Kimber Jackson with a 20-second fall in the title bout.
Sayler wasn’t the only local to have a stunning reversal of fortune. Washougal’s Aleksi Donahue quite literally had that, as she reversed Union’s Alejandra Ayers in their 120-pound championship match to earn a first-round pin. Donahue lost to Ayers at last week’s sub-regional meet. Ayers advances to state despite the defeat.
“I was really nervous going out there because she’s beaten me before,” Donahue said. “She got the first shot, so I knew I was going to have to work real hard. It was great getting the reversal and being able to pin her.”
Donahue pioneered a team victory for the Panthers, as well. Washougal outscored second-place Rogers 107-80 and advanced six girls to next week’s Mat Classic. The top four wrestlers in each weight class move on to state. Joining Donahue are Josalyn Ortiz (130), Melina Aguilar (125), Ashley Garrison (135), Lacey Klopman (145) and Vanessa Brooks (190).
Other local champions Saturday included Ridgefield freshman Uruwa Abe (105), Union’s Riley Aamold (130), Kelso’s Kyla Shoddy (130) and R.A. Long’s Zahnika Olsen (170).
Also advancing to state are Castle Rock’s Kylee Jacobs (110), Union’s Nevaeh Cassidy (155), Mountain View’s Katelyn Cera (170), Kelso’s Presley Lindeman (100), Mayci Bloomfeldt (115) and Alexia Jimenez (140), Ridgefield’s Tyla Engstrom (110), Skyview’s Jordan Mann (155), Camas’ Autumn Aho (190) and Prairie’s Regan Schlaefli (235).