By Jeremy McDonald
DAYTON, Ore.– Dayton’s Lillie Brooks has been on a mission this Winter coming off of her dislocated elbow injury last season as a freshman. The injury, which occurred in her first tournament of the season at the Screaming Eagle Tournament at Santiam Christian, derailed what was a hopeful season for Brooks last season.
But now as a sophomore, she’s on a mission. Having lost just twice this season Brooks wrapped up her 125-pound Dayton Invitational Girls Bracket Championship Saturday evening.
“This season is like my comeback season. I had a lot of nerves coming into this year and everything, but I think it’s making me work harder and get stronger in my elbow,” Brooks said.
Brooks has set her sights on a State Tournament appearance as her comeback season is fully underway and Saturday’s tournament was a step towards that with its competition that it presented. Showing excitement following her pin of Newport’s Camilie Keck in the second round in what was a fast-paced match.
A match that saw Brooks trail Keck 6-2 before rallying ahead 9-6 going into the pin, proving that she can keep up even with the fastest of wrestlers.
“I think for me I wanted it to be fast paced, but today it shows that I have the mental strength to go at any speed I can be at and it’s nice to have that kind of competition,” Brooks said.
Brooks’ win was just part of the Pirates Girls Team’s first-place finish at their home tournament with the 3A squad edging Scappoose by two points in the team standings Saturday. Tana Williams won the 130-pound title as well with Danika Moody (135) and Kiara Rios (120) finishing fourth.Leecenia Mariano (115) and Natalie Oliveira (145) each finished third in their respective weight classes.
For Oliveira, it’s her first year wrestling and the growing pains are there. But picked up wins over Waldport’s Kaitlyn Pickner and Columbia River’s Haley Fraidenburg helped build some momentum for the wrestling rookie coming off an successful soccer season with the Dayton High School Girls Soccer team.
“It was good, I’ve been taking a lot of losses lately so the wins were pretty good. It’s definitely different from what I’m used to” Oliveira said, adjusting to the new sport. “But I’m getting used to it.”
On the guys side, Gavin Koch won the 170 pound title. Alejandro Hernandez finished second at 138, Ethan Hedgecock was third at 285 points.and Kaiden Velez was fourth at 113 pounds as the Pirates finished sixth in the Dayton Invitational.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald