TACOMA — From her shock of dyed blue hair to her fierceness on the mat, Burlington-Edison’s Cora Orton finished her prep wrestling career in style Saturday at Mat Classic XXXII.
Orton bounced back from a semifinal loss to claim third place in the 120-pound weight class. It was the highest finish for a Skagit County wrestler in a competitive pair of days at the Tacoma Dome.
Last year’s Skagit Valley Herald Girls’ Wrestler of the Year started the day with a semifinal matchup with Liberty’s Maizy Feltwell. The match was close throughout, with Feltwell grabbing an early 1-0 lead with a second-period escape. But despite flashes of a possible turnaround — including one moment where Orton drove her opponent across the mat until an out-of-bounds call ended the opportunity — Orton couldn’t erase the deficit, and lost by pin.
The Tiger senior showed no ill effects in her next two matches. First she beat Mount Vernon’s Julie Wilson by 10-0 major decision; then she beat Aleski Donahue of Washougal 8-5 in the third-place match. Orton had a slim 6-5 lead late in that matchup before a takedown with 20 seconds remaining clinched the win.
“For her, the biggest thing was her mental attitude and believing in herself,” Burlington-Edison head coach Windy Lovejoy said. “She was in a good headspace.”
Orton said she couldn’t have gotten there without her teammates and coaches.
“It wasn’t just a team. It was a family. It was great to be a part of that,” she said.
Orton’s teammate, Emma Fleury, was another top performer Saturday, placing fourth in the tough 190-pound weight class. In her semifinal match, she faced nationally ranked Rosa Saucedo Ramirez of Connell, who won by pin.
After winning her next match by pin to propel herself to the third-place match, it didn’t get much easier; Fleury faced a two-time former state champion in Kent-Meridian’s Ofa He Lot Tuifua, who won by pin.
Lovejoy said it was a great season for the junior, who was wrestling up in weight.
“We bumped her up. That can be difficult in and of itself,” Lovejoy said. “But Emma’s a beast. She’s a true competitor. She’s not afraid of anything and just goes out and wrestles her match.”
Mount Vernon’s Wilson went on to place sixth at 120 pounds.
In the boys’ meet, Concrete’s Robert Reed placed fifth in the 132-pound class of the Class 2B/1B Tourament. He won by pin in the medal match. La Conner’s Arjuna Adams finished sixth at 152 pounds.
At the Class 2A level, Sedro-Woolley’s Kai Greenough finished fifth at 106 pounds with a 10-4 win. Teammate Aidan Franklin placed eighth at 160 pounds. Anacortes sophomore Gavin Lang finished eighth at 120 pounds, and Burlington-Edison’s Gus Menne finished eighth at 132.
“Gus wrestled really tough. To come here and place as a freshman is impressive,” Burlington-Edison head coach Kip Jones said.