White River girls second at Auburn tournament

The White River High girls placed second Saturday at the Athena’s Pageant wrestling tournament at Auburn High School.

With 107 team points, the Rivergirls trailed only Class 4A Rogers High School.

White River placed seven girls into the tourney and six placed, meaning a top-three finish in their weight class.

The team had a pair of champions in Payton Stroud and Erin Redford. At 120 pounds, Stroud pinned Jamayla Blackston of Lincoln High for the title. Redford, at 130, took an 11-2 decision over Auburn High’s Patricia DeLeon in the finale.

Madeline Emerson reached the finals at 170 pounds, eventually falling by pin to Shelton’s Quinn Lacy.

A trio of White River girls – Tatiana Molinero at 140 pounds, Jacey Lindner at 190 and Tailyn Nelson at 235 – took third-place honors.

Also competing was Rebekah Lockemy at 190.

“We were very pleased at our finish,” coach Rich Valdez said, noting that Rogers High put 24 girls into the tourney and had nine scorers. “They are a large team, one of the biggest, but we held our own on the strength of our top wrestlers Erin, Payton and Jacey and some great performances by our up-and-comers.

Friday and Saturday, White River will host one of the three subregional tournaments in the West Central District.

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The three seniors on the White River High girls wrestling team did well in the spotlight the evening of Jan. 23, each picking up victories on “Senior Night.”

Fife schools were represented in the White River gymnasium. Valdez was particularly thankful for the Fife squad, which joined White River to make a more complete squad. Furnishing the competition was the South Sound team, which pulls together female grapplers from Orting, Eatonville and River Ridge high schools.

In the end, the South Sound squad left the gym with a 39-36 victory. But it was the spirit of competition that Valdez emphasized.

“We tried very hard to put together a competitive dual meet for our seniors to participate in and put on a show for our hometown crowd,” he wrote in an email. “It’s a big deal. The seniors are in their home gym for the last home dual, parents are witnessing their kids compete sometimes for the last time and coaches are seeing a changing of the guard.”

White River’s trio of seniors made the most of the opportunity. Lindner went ahead on points 7-1 before pinning Kayleen Elika of Fife in the second period. Cassandra Altamirano found herself trailing Orting’s Cheyenne Marli 6-2 heading into the third period, but pulled out a pin.

Redford competed twice during her final home meet. First, she pinned Orting’s Cally Evans; she then pinned River Ridge’s Mason East, who requested the match in hopes of landing some tough competition.