Female wrestlers from Federal Way, Decatur, Todd Beamer and Thomas Jefferson pose for a group photo following the second annual all-city girls wrestling meet. District coaches agree the quality of wrestling has gone up in recent years, as has the interest in the sport as more girls are realizing it is not just for boys. Contributed photo

Female wrestlers from Federal Way, Decatur, Todd Beamer and Thomas Jefferson pose for a group photo following the second annual all-city girls wrestling meet. District coaches agree the quality of wrestling has gone up in recent years, as has the interest in the sport as more girls are realizing it is not just for boys. Contributed photo

Federal Way girls wrestling program celebrated at all-city meet

Eagles claimed trophy for second year in a row.

The Federal Way Eagles walked away with the trophy, but all the local high schools celebrated the success of their girls wrestling programs at the second annual all-city wrestling meet Wednesday evening at Decatur High School.

In the opening matches of the night, Federal Way High School, ranked No. 3 in the state, defeated Todd Beamer, and Decatur took down No. 11-ranked Thomas Jefferson.

At the end of the night, the Eagles placed first for the second year in a row, followed by Decatur, Thomas Jefferson and Todd Beamer.

Federal Way High School senior Mariah Stewart, who is currently ranked 11th in the nation in her 235-pound weight class, said the all-city meet is always fun because most of the girls across the schools are friends, united in their love of wrestling.

“It feels good to have all the Federal Way schools come together and represent girls wrestling,” said Stewart, who defeated Decatur’s Samantha Poasa-Tuito’elau in the last match of the night to help give the Eagles the win.

Stewart said girls wrestling has really grown in the district and the state from when she first took the mat three years ago.

She said it is great to see more girls recognizing they have a place in wrestling and that it’s not just a boys sport.

“Compared to my first year of wrestling — I mean, I was like, ‘Oh, I never knew this was a girls sport,’” Stewart said. “It makes me feel good that more girls are joining. It makes me feel good. Us girls just love it.”

While down a few wrestlers from last year, Federal Way High School coach Travis Mango said, overall, interest in the sport is growing, and he appreciates that all the girls turn out for wrestling each ready to represent their high schools and compete.

“They leave it all on the mat,” he said. “It’s really special to watch them grow.”

Mango said it is also nice for all the Federal Way schools to come together and wrap up their seasons together.

“I think, more than anything, I’ve seen a sense of camaraderie among us all,” he said.

Decatur coach Sam Hunt agreed and said, in addition to the number of girls turning out, the level of competition is improving each year.

He said the girls wrestling teams have Federal Way Public Schools to thank for the program’s success by supporting the teams’ efforts and committing funds to keep it going every year.

“It’s just great to see the girls get the opportunity to compete at such high levels,” Hunt said.

“The school district is really helping us take the next big step.”

If things continue as they are, the Federal Way teams should experience even more growth and success in the coming years as girls advance from the middle school level into high school.

Hunt said, in addition to supporting the four high school programs, the school district has also demonstrated its commitment to girls wrestling overall by providing support to the middle schools, which is reflected by the quality of girls wrestling at that level.

“It’s a huge thing,” Hunt said. “More girls are realizing it’s not just for boys.”

With the conclusion of the all-city meet, the local teams will turn their focus to the postseason.

The coaches are meeting next week to determine seeding for the sub-district competition, which is Feb. 2-3 at Thomas Jefferson High School.

The top girls from the more than 30 teams at that tournament will advance to regionals Feb. 9-10.

State is the following weekend.

Federal Way’s Amanda Henderson bends Decatur’s Zekiah Popp into an unnatural position during the all-city girls wrestling meet Wednesday at Decatur. JESSICA KELLER, the Mirror

Federal Way’s Amanda Henderson bends Decatur’s Zekiah Popp into an unnatural position during the all-city girls wrestling meet Wednesday at Decatur. JESSICA KELLER, the Mirror

Decatur’s Jessica Morales gains the upperhand over Federal Way’s Giselle Velasco-Soliz in the championship match at the all-city girls wrestling meet Wednesday at Decatur. JESSICA KELLER, the Mirror

Decatur’s Jessica Morales gains the upperhand over Federal Way’s Giselle Velasco-Soliz in the championship match at the all-city girls wrestling meet Wednesday at Decatur. JESSICA KELLER, the Mirror

Decatur’s Jessica Morales gains the upperhand over Federal Way’s Giselle Velasco-Soliz in the championship match at the all-city girls wrestling meet Wednesday at Decatur. JESSICA KELLER, the Mirror

Decatur’s Jessica Morales gains the upperhand over Federal Way’s Giselle Velasco-Soliz in the championship match at the all-city girls wrestling meet Wednesday at Decatur. JESSICA KELLER, the Mirror

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