By Jeremy McDonald
ALBANY, Ore.– The tears and emotions were worth it following her 10-7 victory over Tualatin’s Madi Randels Saturday evening at the 6A/5A Special District 2 Championship bout.
West Salem’s Reese Lawson remembers when Randels defeated her last year and this year it was the Titans junior’s time to overtake the Timberwolve junior as the two competitors shared a hug following the win by Lawson and joked around on the podium a few minutes later.
“It was tense at first but she’s really sweet. She’s an awesome girl and she’s going to go really far in the sport,” Lawson said of Randels.
Lawson brought the aggression, perhaps a tad too much at times with Randels being awarded here-and-there in the match. But the West Salem wrestler built herself a 7-2 lead to sustain through any kind of adversity. Overcoming a near-pin at the end of the first round to build the lead with 31 seconds left in round two. Quickly, the lead evaporated as Randels pulled Lawson back in 9-7 in the third period before a stall call against Randels helped give Lawson just enough breathing room to clinch the Titans first-ever Girls District Champion in school history.
The win came on the heels of Lawson making history last season as a sophomore as the first-ever West Salem Girls wrestler to place at the State Tournament as she hopes to improve her sixth-place placing from last year to this year. But the Finals match was the longest match of the season for Lawson, who knows that’ll be an important factor for her to work upon going into practice to prepare for the State Wrestling Meet February 24 at Veteran Memorial Coliseum in Portland.
“It’s definitely something I’ve been working really hard for, especially my comeback match…she beat me last year here and it felt amazing to beat her,” Lawson said of the win. “It was my hardest match all year. I don’t think…mentally I was there but physically I was really slowing down, but it felt really good to see those ten seconds just go and be done. I really need to work on my longer matches because that was the longest one I’ve had, but I’m really looking forward to State. I think it’ll be a lot of fun.”
Emily Rayburn joins Lawson at the State Meet with her District Runner-Up finish at 110 pounds, Samantha Gagnon finished fifth at 125 pounds as the Titans finished seventh as a team in the District Meet.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald