By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– West Salem sophomore Reese Lawson took the next step in the Titan Girls Wrestling program. One-upping 2021-graduate Anybeth Valenzuela’s making State with becoming the first West Salem Girls Wrestler in placing at State.
Battling through the consolation bracket after her opening round loss to Douglas’ Zoey Smalley with three-straight pin victories over Dayton’s Adalynn Williams, Estacada’s Rowana Yandell and Roosevelt’s Vida Boskovic to get back into contention for the podium by the end of February 24’s Girls State Tournament at Culver High School.
“I was just taking it one match at a time and really working on my technique, not to get scared about the matches in the future and just focus on the moment,” Lawson said of the wins.
Boskovic was tough, strong points Lawson as it took until the second round of the bout to pick up her final pin of the tournament to get to the consolation final round of the 155-pound bracket before medically forfeited to Smalley in the Consolation final.
“It was kind of surreal. It was overwhelming, but it made me really happy,” Lawson said.
Lawson got back with the Salem Elite Wrestling Club recently and her intention is to do club year around. Improving on her craft as she’s apart of a relatively young group of girl’s wrestlers under long-time Head Coach Mike Baker.
“They’re really good with what they do. The technique and the dynamic of the room, it feels like a second home. So I felt like that really helped me improve,” Lawson said.
“It’s super awesome, I was telling someone a couple of months ago, its reinvigorating that the girls wrestling program…girls wrestling is taking off as a whole. I’ve been a head coach here for ten years, but the girl’s program is just taking off and this year we got up to nine or ten girls. All of them, expect for one finished the season and that’s by far the biggest girls’ team that we’ve had,” adds Baker.
“The future for us, we got all freshman and sophomore so the future for us is super exciting. Hopefully our numbers double and chasing McKay with their mid-to-high 20’s and on the backside the position on the podium. How many can we place at the Regional tournament? How many can we qualify for the State Tournament and how many can we get on the podium at the State Tournament,” Baker continues.