Three years ago, North Thurston High School didn’t even have a girls’ wrestling program. Now the Rams have a state placer.
Sophomore Dolly Manlapaz finished eighth at Mat Classic XXXII in the girls’ 110-pound state tournament at the Tacoma Dome on February 22 to become the first Rams’ female wrestler to medal at the state championships.
Manlapaz was one of two Thurston County wrestlers to place at the girls’ tournament. She was joined by Tenino senior Jamiah Christin, who finished sixth in the 115-pound division.
“Last year, we told Dolly to just give (wrestling) a try and 10 weeks later she was wrestling at the state tournament,” said North Thurston coach Josh Sneva. “She’s worked extremely hard to improve, and now schools are starting to contact her about wrestling in college. She just has a knack for it.”
Manlapaz, who was a state participant in the 115-pound weight division last year as a freshman, defeated Annhelica Wells of Forks by pinfall (1:23) in the first round and led, 2-1, midway through the third period in her quarterfinal match before losing to Othello sophomore Alexis Monday, the state’s fifth-ranked wrestler in the weight division.
Faced with the scenario of leaving Tacoma empty handed for a second straight season, Manlapaz beat Mead’s Kelsey Loeun by pin (2:39) in a loser-out match, giving her win No. 32 on the season.
Manlapaz closed out her second season of high school wrestling with a loss to Ridgefield sophomore Tyla Engstrom in the placing round.
“Dolly is still new to the sport of wrestling,” North Thurston girls’ wrestling coach Erich Weight said, “but she is a really hard worker and an even better teammate. We are lucky that she has two more years in our program.”
Manlapaz was one of two Rams to compete at the state tournament as teammate Payton Irish, a senior, participated in the 190-pound division.
A year after falling a win shy of placing in the 115-pound division as a junior, Christin assured herself of a state placing this time around by advancing to the state semifinals. The senior defeated Chiawana freshman Alanna Haney, 3-1, in the first round and White River’s Jenna Beddow, 6-5, in the quarterfinals.
Christin’s run toward a state championship ended, however, in the semifinals with a loss to Othello’s Iyazely Barraza, who entered the state tournament ranked No. 4 in the division.
Christin, who was the Region 2 champion, finished the year with a record of 22-9 following a loss to Enumclaw’s Natasha Puzon in a match for fifth place.
Yelm had a trio of state wrestlers in sophomore Jordyn Rabalais, junior Dasha Burnett and freshman Camryn Erickson.
Both Rabalais and Erickson each notched a victory at the tournament with both winning loser-out matches by pin. After losing to Snohomish senior Holly Butler in the first round, Rabalais pinned Centralia’s Kupria Lapierre (2:39) in the consolation bracket before falling to North Central’s Kilee Callaghan.
Erickson also went 1-2 at the tournament with a win over Wapato sophomore Yasmari Rodriguez by pin (2:47) in her second match.
Olympia’s Erica Grant finished her senior season with an impressive 36-6 record. Grant cruised to the quarterfinals in the 140-pound weight class after scoring a win by technical fall (15-0) over Mount Si sophomore Aynslee Hester.
A 2-1 loss to Walla Walla’s Annelise Whitaker followed for Grant in the quarterfinals. In that match, Grant led 1-0 after an escape in the second period. The lead would hold up until the closing seconds of the third when Whitaker was able to come up with a reversal to win the match, sending Grant to the consolation bracket. Whitaker would go on to place second, while Grant saw her season come to an end in her next match with a 5-3 loss to Wenatchee’s Isabella Andreini.
Grant placed third in state at 130 pounds last year as a junior, winning six straight matches after losing in the second round.
Capital senior Kylee Heaston became the first member of the Cougars girls’ wrestling team to pick up a win at the state tournament. After losing to eventual state champion Molly Williams of Redmond in the first round, Heaston (30-14) pinned Kelso’s Mayci Bloomfeldt in the consolation round before bowing out the following match.