Camas, WA — Wrestling is traditionally known as a male sport, but over recent years girls wrestling has been making an upward trend, and Camas and Washougal are no exception. This is the part one in a two-part series that looks at the sport; part one will focus on Camas, and part two, on Washougal.
The Camas High School (CHS) Girls wrestling program had a good showing at the recent Clark County Wrestling tournament, with Eliana Sabatini, a Camas sophomore, winning her weight class (135). Sabatini is a team captain with Autumn Aho, and the team is determined to make a statement.
The Washougal Panthers Wrestling team won the meet outright, with Emma Seekins, a Washougal freshman, winning her weight class (100), pinning her opponent in the second round, which helped Washougal win. The Panthers are also tremendously proud of Abby Lees, a two-time state wrestling champion.
”We’re so pleased with the team,” said Seekins. “I like wrestling because it is a very difficult and challenging sport, and it pushes you to your limits.”
But, back to Camas.
“In the final, I wrestled McMillan from Hudson’s Bay,” said Sabatini. “And, Kiana Pullen won third place at 190. Ava Weatherl, placed fourth at 115 pounds. As a team, Camas took sixth place, and a total of eight Papermakers attended the tournament.”
Winning at such a major meet is quite prestigious, and it’s even more so given Sabatini’s relatively new exposure to the sport. She has just been wrestling for a year.
Washougal won the Clark County Wrestling Tournament.
The Camas Girls Wrestling team at the Clark County Wrestling Tournament.
“A coach at Skyridge got her interested,” Sabatini said. “And, I love being the only girl in my grade to wrestle. All the wrestling boys tell me that girls shouldn’t wrestle, but that got me motivated. I have an uncle who has wrestled and he taught me new moves. I feel like boys are always talked about, and the girls aren’t really acknowledge a lot, so it’s time to get the word out. Nobody knows about it.”
Sabatini said she wrestles boys in practice, which helps her.
“It’s not weird, it’s just an opponent, and boys wrestling is different than girls,” she said. “The types of moves they use.”
What does wrestling teach the youth?
“It teaches me a lot, it teaches me how to work hard, and gives me confidence, and it makes me want to help teach others to help grow the girls wrestling team,” said Sabatini. “I think girls are afraid to wrestle because it’s so new. They’re afraid of the toughness.”
Mark Yamashida is the girls wrestling head coach, and he works hard to teach his team the skills required to win — and learn.
He also is working to get the word out about the sport, and spends time at each match teaching the girls, and making sure they feel positive.
“He gives me self-confidence before a match, and helps the girls out with everything,” said Sabatini. “With school, with wrestling and it helps me push myself and reach my goals. I love the sport so much. I love the competition and I love to win. Getting my hand raised after a match is the best feeling I’ve ever felt in life. My coach always tells me I’m always smiling through everything even when I’m in so much pain trying to make a move or push myself in practice. I’m always smiling and having a good time.”
Their next tournament is next Friday, which is the RA Long Invite.
Abby Lees, a Washougal HS graduate, is a two-time State Wrestling champion.
Eliana Sabatini winning a match.
Eliana Sabatini won her weight class (135 pounds) at the Clark County Wrestling tournament.
Washougal Head Coach, Heather Carver, holds up their trophy.