MOUNT VERNON — Julie Wilson didn’t take much of a break between her sophomore and junior wrestling seasons. Now she has a state berth because of it.
The Mount Vernon junior earned her first-ever state berth to this weekend’s Mat Classic after wrestling in several summer freestyle tournaments. She competed in a pair of tournaments in the state, as well as one in the Dallas area where she clashed with competition from throughout the country.
“During my high school career, I’ve improved a fair amount, but the reason I improved this year was having put in so much work with freestyle,” Wilson said.
While freestyle wrestling differs in style from high school wrestling, it’s similar enough to help wrestlers improve, Wilson said.
“I focus better mentally,” she said. “I don’t freak out as much or get nervous. Last year, I struggled to get myself to do my best.”
Wilson earned her state berth thanks to a second-place finish in the 120-pound weight class in a regional tournament in Sedro-Woolley. She won back-to-back matches before losing in the tournament finals to Burlington-Edison’s Cora Orton.
Wilson placed fifth in the regional last year and was a state alternate.
This week, Wilson was named a Washington Interscholastic Activities Association Athlete of the Week. She was recognized for her 30-9 season record as well as her defeat of two wrestlers at regionals she’d lost to earlier in the season.
“She’s really dedicated. She’s always staying active and going the extra mile,” Mount Vernon coach Alysia Pohren said. “She always tries to get the other girls to go to camps or tournaments. It’s like having a mini-coach out there.”