When the Edmonds Woodway High School girls wrestling team took the mat for the first time this season on Dec. 7, they showed signs of a program that was not only growing but building for success. With 20 girls turning out — nearly double in size from last year — the girls went into the Olympic Tournament in Silverdale and took nine second-place finishes in a round robin-style event.
“The returning girls put in the time in the off season and are starting to turn the corner,” said Head Coach Terry Ray.
Led by two-time state competitor Vatoria Keyes, the Warriors show a diverse mix of style experience and age. Keyes, a junior, went 2-1 in the tournament and says she is ready to place in state this year.
“I’ve been working really hard this year, I pushed myself in the off season getting in better shape and losing weight,” Keyes said. “I am really excited. The new girls are doing amazing and working hard to get better.”
Keyes credits wrestling at E-W with making her a better student, athlete and person overall. “It has helped me build self confidence I never had before,” she said.
Junior Emily Hood is another of the more experienced wrestlers on the team. Last year she was joined by her older sister Sarah, now a senior. “I was a manager and saw how much fun Emily was having and I said, ‘Hey, I can do that do and give it a try,” Sarah Hood said. Both Sarah and Emily went 2-1 to finish second in Silverdale.
The sisters say they are competitive and make each other better. They also said that having two older brothers on past E-W boys wrestling teams gave them encouragement.
“Wrestling makes everything else in life seem easy because it’s so hard,” Sarah said.
“It definitely makes you a better person,” Emily added.
Jasmyn Cortez, a senior, is a second-year wrestler. Until last year she had never been in a competitive sport. “Wrestling is great,” she said. “It has taught me I have no limits. Even if I think I have limits I don’t.”
She added: “The coaches have helped me see a side of myself I never new I had. I am grateful for that.”
Cortez set a goal for herself to win her first medal this year. It happened in Silverdale with a second-place finish.
The Warrior girls spend a lot of time on the road to get to competitions. They will wrestle at Marysville-Pilchuck High School Dec. 11 and Lynden Dec. 15. Their next match at home is Jan 24.
— By Mike Cooper