Marysville-Pilchuck High School ninth grader Alivia White was as surprised as anybody when the 2020 WIAA Mat Classic brackets were revealed a week ago.
She found out she was on a collision-course meeting with two-time defending girls 190-pound champion Ofa He Lot Tiufua, of Kent-Meridian, in the state semifinals, not the championship match.
“I figured it would be finals with her,” White said, “if I got there.”
Well, arguably the most-anticipated match of the girls tournament took place Saturday morning in the Tacoma Dome between the two standouts.
And White, who is a nationally-accomplished youth wrestler, shook up the tournament in a tension-filled 13-10 decision over the Royals’ junior.
The match was still very much up in the air until White scored a takedown and two-point near-fall with 33 seconds remaining to grab a 13-7 advantage. From there, she held on – and both combatants were visibly out of gas when the final buzzer sounded.
“I could have easily given it away, but I gave it my all,” White said. “Every second.”
Before that showdown, Tiufua – who had lost to White earlier during the regular season – had won her first 10 state-tournament matches all by pin.
But event his match didn’t have the last-second suspense as the 115 girls semifinal between a pair of undefeated wrestlers – Othello’s Emily Mendez and Kamiak’s Diana Cantini, the reigning 110 state runner-up.
Cantini was on her way to a victory when she backed up after Mendez shot for her legs, and was called for a stalling penalty with 1.2 seconds remaining in regulation.
Mendez was awarded a one-point penalty, and the match went into overtime tied at 3-3.
In overtime, Mendez got the winning takedown with 17 seconds remaining in the extra period to win 5-3.
“It is pretty tough bracket,” said Mendez, who spent much of the season at 105 before moving up. “Even with my knowledge of technique, the strength here is a different level.”
As far as the team races, nobody was having a better showing that three-time defending ‘B’ champion Tonasket.
The Tigers send nine wrestlers into the championship finals, including one representative in each of the first seven weight classes.
With 255.5 points, not only do they have a shot at back-to-back 300-point state tournaments, they clinched the largest margin of victory (nearly 140 points over Liberty of Spangle) in any classification in Mat Classic history.
Blaine had the previous mark, scoring 199 points in the 1A ranks in 1990 – and defeating Deer Park by 119.5 points.
Mount Spokane (131 points in 3A) and Toppenish (221.5 points in 2A) also defending their team-title crowns.
Chiawana (135-126 lead over Sunnyside in 4A), Granger (156-143.5 lead over Zillah in 1A) and the White River girls (91-82.5 lead over Kennewick) are the frontrunners heading into the night session (5 p.m.)