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Wrestling: Northwest sends six wrestlers to state

By Reece Waddell | Published Saturday, February 24, 2018
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State Bound

STATE BOUND – State qualifying and alternate wrestlers from Northwest pose for a photo. Pictured are (front from left) Madison Brown, Bianca Garcia, Andrena Carter, Landon Brown, (back) Skylar Jackson, Autumn Bradley, Mike Kumlien, Aiden Jean and Amalia Garcia. Submitted photo

Six wrestlers from Northwest are competing at the University Interscholastic League wrestling championships this weekend at the Berry Center in Cypress. Matches began Friday and run through Saturday evening.

Four girls and two boys qualified for the state meet. Madison Brown, Skylar Jackson, Aiden Jean, Andrena Carter, Mike Kumlien and Amalia Garcia all advanced out of the tough 5A Region II.

The Texans battled schools from Dallas, Fort Worth and Frisco along with Grapevine and Colleyville Heritage to earn spots at the tournament.

“We love that we got six through, but we wish we would have got all nine through,” said Northwest coach Dan McCready. “We’re in Region II-5A, which is the toughest 5A region in the state. It’s really a who’s who.”

Landon Brown, Bianca Garcia and Autumn Bradley each qualified as alternates for the state tournament. McCready said there is a slight possibility one of them could compete in Cypress, but only if another wrestler in their region is unable to.

The state tournament is double-elimination with a 16-person bracket for every weight class. Each region across the state gets four qualifiers. Wrestlers must win a minimum of three matches to place. Matches consist of three, two-minute periods, beginning with both wrestlers on their feet in the neutral position.

From there, various maneuvers are awarded a variety of points. Takedowns are worth two points while an escape is worth one. The wrestler with the most points at the end of the match wins.

If a wrestler is held down on their back with both shoulder blades touching the mat for more than a second, the referee awards a pin, which ends the match. If a wrestler goes up by more than 15 points, a technical fall is awarded, which also ends the match.

“[Wrestling] is a mind game,” Carter said. “It’s not just physical. You have to be mentally trained. It’s all contact, but it’s a lot about your mindset.”

Carter won third place at last year’s state meet, taking home the bronze in the 165-pound weight class. She has compiled a 44-1 record this year, and as a result, is currently ranked second on Wrestling Texas’ list of top 20 girl wrestlers in the 165-pound division.

But Carter has higher goals in mind.

After losing in the state semifinals the past two years, Carter is determined to finally claim the gold.

“I think she’s going to be able to turn the corner,” McCready said. “The semifinal match at state has been her nemesis for the last two years. I think [she’s] looking to get over that hump and into the finals and bring home a different medal than [she] has in the past.”

On the boys side, Kumlien is looking to win his second consecutive state title after bringing home the gold last year in the 132-pound weight class.

Kumlien has since moved up to the 138-pound weight division and has gone 53-3 this year. He said while there have been some challenges moving up a weight class, he’s ready to compete at the state level.

Kumlien enters the tournament ranked second in his weight class.

“I had to gain a little more weight. The guys at 138 are a little bit stronger, but I’ve been able to use technique and beat them that way,” Kumlien said. “It would be awesome to go out as the No. 1 wrestler. I can’t even explain it.”

The Texans sport the 12th ranked boys wrestling team in 5A and the sixth-ranked girls team. Boys weighed in at 7:30 a.m. Friday morning, with matches starting at 9. Girls weighed in at 10 a.m. with matches starting at 11:30.

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