When Yelm High School teammates Carly Smith and Chelsea Rochester met for the 135-pound championship of their school’s Jump On In girls wrestling tournament Saturday, the match was fairly tame.
Smith got out to a 2-0 first round lead, then pinned Rochester 38 seconds into the second round.
Come back on a weekday afternoon and the action might be wilder.
“When those two practice against each other, we have to surround them with coaches to make sure the girls working nearby don’t get hurt,” said Tornados coach Amy Earley. “They’re good friends and workout partners, along with Taelyn Carter (Yelm’s 140-pounder).
“They care about each other, push each other to improve. There’s a lot of intensity in the mat room, nothing is low throttle.”
Smith, who won three matches Saturday but believes she still needs to improve her strength and conditioning, appreciated being able to wrestle a teammate for the championship.
“I felt pretty good about it,” she said. “It’s nice to know you have strong team mates to make you work harder and get better.”
Rochester wasn’t alone in not going the distance with Smith, who also pinned Kalama’s Brittany Hayes and Mount Baker’s Korbyn Cadle. Rochester reached the final by pinning Elma’s Brook Jankford and shutting out Jamie Kness of Burlington-Edison, 7-0.
Earley, who stayed away from the mat when Smith and Rochester wrestled so as not to favor one or the other in her coaching, says head-to-head battles in early season tournaments is an ideal way to decide competition among teammates.
“We had a lot of that in the different rounds today,” Earley said. “It’s better to let match results do that than me having to make decisions based on practice.
“We’ll separate Carly and Chelsea pretty soon, have one go down to 130, but for now that’s the challenge they have.”
Yelm’s depth helped the Tornados claim the team championship with 106 points, ahead of Mount Baker (100) and Washougal (96).
Several other local wrestlers advanced as far as the semifinals.
Cutler pinned Jade Palmer of W.F. West after drawing a bye, but was pinned late in the third round of her semifinal. The Tornados’ 120-pounder, Phoenix Dubose, made quick work of Franklin Pierce’s Yajaira Sanchez, pinning her in 40 seconds, but lost to eventual champion Mayia Blackston of Lincoln, 14-6, in the semifinals. Yelm’s 190-pounder Jasmine Welch finished third.
Olympia’s Hailey Henry was also a semifinalist at 120, pinning Katelyn Mercier of Spanaway Lake in a 42-second quarterfinal, but lost a narrow bout to Rachel Sherson of Arlington, 3-2. At 125, Shelton’s Melissa McIntosh defeated Mercedes Pinnell of Hoquiam, 10-6, but was pinned by White River’s Payton Stroud in the semis.
Yvette Rodriguez of Tenino pinned Arlington’s Leah White in just 22 seconds to reach the 170-pound semifinals, but was in turn pinned by Anna Steed of Spanaway Lake in the second round.