A handful of local wrestlers found themselves in the spotlight after standout performances at a national competition in North Dakota.
Grapplers from all parts of the country flock annually to Fargo for the USMC Cadet and Junior National Championships.
The top performance by a local athlete was turned in by Brenden Chaowanapibool, who competes during the prep season for Bonney Lake High School. In Junior Freestyle, in the 106-pound division, he claimed championship honors following a 6-2 decision over Anthony King of Illinois.
Also in Junior Freestyle were his BLHS teammate Brandon Kaylor, fifth at 120 pounds, and White River High wrestlers Nate Moore, fifth at 152 pounds, and Jack Ervien, seventh at 160.
Busiest among the local male contingent was Yusief Lillie, another Bonney Lake Panther. The 106-pounder did double duty in Fargo, placing second in Cadet freestyle and third in Greco-Roman.
In freestyle, he advanced to the championship round before losing a tough 12-11 decision to Nicolar Rivera of Wisconsin. In Greco-Roman, Lillie claimed third place with a 5-4 decision over Cael Swensen of Minnesota.
In women’s action, Enumclaw High’s Kenzie Cormier registered a technical fall of Brelane Huber of Idaho to place third in Cadet Freestyle at 112 pounds; in Junior Freestyle, she took sixth after falling to Utah’s Kierstein Bush.
Also in Junior Freestyle, White River’s Payton Stroud pinned Makayla Welch of Minnesota to place fifth at 122 pounds. Her White River teammate, Claire DiCugno, took fifth at 127 pounds with a tech fall over New York’s Natalie Dunn in Cadet Freestyle.
At last season’s Washington state wrestling meet, Moore, Lillie, Kaylor and Chaowanapibool were state champions in the boys meet, while Ervien placed third. In the girls state meet, Stroud placed second while Cormier and DiCugno were fourth.