By Jeremy McDonald
SPRINGFIELD, Ore.– North Salem’s sending three girls to the State Wrestling Meet at Veterans Memorial Collesum in Portland here in three weeks following Saturday’s OSAA Girls South Regional State Qualifier at Thurston High School.
Emotions were there for Norely Lara, Quilaztli Miguel-Lapham and Gabrielle Tata Rodrigues of accomplishing the feat, but perhaps not as much as Lara.
Lara had broke down after her semi-final win over Isabella Gutches of North Medford, knowing she’s been waiting for this moment for four years before gathering herself up for her third-place win via pin over the Black Tornado’s Alyx Cameron.
“It’s un-describable. I was in tears. After all these four years almost making it, almost placing, the hard work finally paid off. It finally paid off,” said Lara. “Just keep working on technique, just keep on working and putting in effort, never quit.”
Miguel-Lapham’s goal was to make it to State in her second-year wrestling, let alone reach the 140-pound Championship bout which she did Saturday afternoon after defeating the number one seed Brielle Brick in double-overtime. Miguel-Lapham won her bout with Brick 7-1.
“I think it was incredibly emotional, I came here with the goal of making it to State. I wasn’t expecting anything, I just wanted to make it to State and I accomplished that,” Miguel-Lapham said of the Semi-Final win. “I’m just excited to compete and consider myself on the level of State.”
In the 140-pound Regional Championship bout, Miguel-Lapham’s mindset wasn’t on par as she would hoped falling behind 5-1 in the match versus North Medford’s Dakota Alewine, but contending before falling by pin by the 4:59 mark of the match.
Her mental approach, the mindset, is something she’ll work on moving into the State Tournament.
“I think my mental mindset is something I need to work on…coming into it excited ready to go instead of doubting and I think that’s the biggest thing for me,” said Miguel-Lapham. “Anybody can beat anybody in wrestling. It’s wrestling. So I think I was definitely fighting within myself where to go and I think I never decided.”
Similar to Miguel-Lapham, Tata Rodrigues’ match with Elmira’s Anna McDougal was too a learning experience.
After handing McDougal her only loss of the season a few weeks ago heading into their Regional Championship bout, the first-year grappler was caught off guard by the adjustments that McDougal made entering the match.
McDougal won the match via pin, but it’s does help keep Tata-Rodrigues entering the Field of 8 here in Portland in a few weeks.
“It was tough because last time I went against her, it definitely didn’t go like that. It was slower, not as fast, and she wasn’t defending as much last time. This time came it was different, which is fine. I like a good competition keeping me on my toes,” said Tata-Rodrigues. “It’ll definitely keep me hungry, keep the fire going in me to push more and harder.”
Alexis Woodley finished sixth at 125 pounds as North Salem placed four in the Regional Tournament.