After placing second overall in the district, the Oak Harbor girls varsity wrestling team is sending 10 athletes to compete in regionals.
Wrestlers had to finish in the top five of their weight class at sub-regionals to qualify. Three other girls on the team placed seventh and will attend as alternates. Regionals will take place Saturday at Snohomish High School. The top six athletes from regionals will go on to state.
“It’s been a lot of fun to watch them learn and enjoy the sport,” Head Coach Mike Crebbins said. “The goal next year is to be the district champs.”
At one point, there was a three-way tie for second place in the district. The Wildcats beat Mount Vernon and Sedro-Woolley for the spot.
“I knew we had something going when we beat Sedro-Woolley because they’re a pretty strong team,” Crebbins said.
The team has also won two tournaments this season, a first for Oak Harbor girls wrestling.
Among the standout players is sophomore Olivia Hudson, who placed first in her weight class at sub-regionals, the only wrestler on the team to do so.
Three Wildcats placed second in their weight class, including junior Zoe Beeman. She broke a finger in December and had to sit out for five weeks but still finished the season strong. In her first match at sub-regionals, she pinned her opponent almost immediately.
“I went all out on her,” Beeman said. “I should have given her more of a chance to wrestle and have fun, but I was really excited.”
Annabelle Suto, a junior, placed third in her weight class even though this is only her first year wrestling. At first, she struggled but eventually won a tournament which sparked a passion for the sport. She is confident about her chances to go onto state.
“I mean, I’m this far,” she said. “I want to go all the way and just win.”
Suto and Beeman agreed that the wrestling can be challenging, both physically and mentally.
“You have to have the confidence and the determination,” Beeman said.
Assistant Coach Alexis Dozsa said last year, the team had less than a dozen people. This year, there were over 20. She contributes that to the players recruiting their friends after discovering a love for the sport. She said the team does a great job of supporting each other and pushing one another to succeed.
“Even though it’s an individual sport, they do it together,” she said.
Crebbins said wrestling is one of the fastest growing sports for high school girls, especially in Washington. He encouraged any Oak Harbor students interested in wrestling to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.