All wins. All pins. That perfect season left Prairie head coach Rob Smith in awe.
“It’s the most insane thing you can do,” Smith said. “I think she’s gone to the third period once this season. To do what she’s done this season is absurd.”
For her accomplishments, Tarrant is The Columbian’s All-Region girls wrestler of the year for a second time.
When asked what she’s most proud of this season, Tarrant turns the focus to the six other girls on Prairie’s wrestling team. That includes junior Aaliyah Young, who placed third in state at 170 pounds.
“Winning state was awesome, but I’m proud of the new community we’re building with girls wrestling,” Tarrant said. “I’m probably most proud of my teammates. I feel like I’m watching my kids grow up. I’m very proud of the effort we’re putting in as a team.”
Tarrant’s unblemished record gives the illusion that this season was a breeze. That’s far from the truth.
“This year I was way more nervous,” Tarrant said. “Before my matches I would walk back and forth and freak myself out. My team was like, why are you so nervous?”
Some of those nerves came from appreciating the magnitude of what Mat Classic means to most wrestlers. As a freshman, Tarrant started wrestling partway through the season. She entered the Tacoma Dome not understanding what the big deal was.
“The upperclassmen, everyone was always taking about it,” Tarrant said of Mat Classic. “In my head, I’m just like OK, I’m going to go wrestle again.”
But this year, wearing the target of a state champion, Tarrant felt the pressure.
She also learned she thrives under that stress.
“I work really well under pressure,” Tarrant said. “I might have my best performances under pressure.”
Beyond controlling nerves, Smith said Tarrant’s command of leverage and angles is well beyond what he sees in most high school wrestlers.
“She understands body position,” Smith said. “She knows what she needs to do to counter what her opponents are doing. She really analyzes what’s going on while a match is happening. … She’s learned not to force a move and let her opponents come to her.”
Ranked in the top 20 nationwide in her weight class, Tarrant is taking steps to eventually wrestle in college. That will include competing in freestyle tournaments this summer. College competition is freestyle while high school is folkstyle.
“I feel like there’s always room to improve,” Tarrant said. “It’s amazing to be a state champion but I want to remain a state champion. I have to work even harder because it’s going to be harder.”
The rest of the All-Region team
Niah Cassidy, Union
The junior was state runner up at Class 3A/4A 125 pounds. Regional and Clark County champ.
Ellie Freund, Kelso
The senior placed sixth in state at Class 3A/4A 105 pounds. Regional and sub-regional runner-up.
Reagan Fallon-Small, Camas
The senior placed third in state at Class 3A/4A 125 pounds. Top three in each tournament this season.
Janessa O’Connell, Union
The sophomore was fifth in state at Class 3A/4A 130 pounds. 4A Greater St. Helens League wrestler of year.
Addie Wunderli, Camas
The senior was state runner-up in Class 3A/4A 140 pounds in her first season of wrestling. Clark County champ.
Aaliyah Young, Prairie
The junior was third in state at Class 3A/4A 170 pounds, earning three pins and two major decisions at Mat Classic.