Talk about a dazzling debut.
Meadowdale’s Dee Dee Free served notice to the wrestling community that she is a force to be reckoned with in the future.
The freshman standout took third place in the girls 190-pound division at Mat Classic XXVI Saturday at the Tacoma Dome.
Free was overcome by emotions after defeating Puyallup senior Jasmine Tuilaepa 12-5 in the third-fourth place match.
“It feels really good,” Free said. “It means a lot. I can’t believe I made it.”
The third-fourth place match actually was the second time Free faced Tuilaepa. The Puyallup senior edged Free 13-11 in the quarterfinals on Friday. Free looked forward to the opportunity to face Tuilaepa again.
“From inside of me, deep down, something came out of me,” Free said. “She beat me once. I needed to beat her.”
What was the difference the second time around?
Meadowdale’s coaches told Free to do her moves and not to be sloppy, she said.
Maverick coach Brian Boardman said that Free might have not been ready for the aggressiveness of Tuilaepa in the first match.
“I think that kind of threw her off,” said Boardman, who noted that Free was penalized for stalling.
Free went on the offensive in the rematch.
“She knew how to go ahead and attack,” Boardman said.
Free recorded a pin in her first round match and then after losing to Tuilaepa, she rebounded with a 13-3 decision and two more pins to advance to the third-fourth place match.
Boardman actually didn’t seem to be too surprised by Free’s success at state.
“She’s wrestled at the Lynden tournament and got third place as a girl in a boys tournament,” Boardman said. “She’s capable of beating a lot of boys.”
— By David Pan