Taylor Lee, motivated by the memory of her late sister, reached the state championship match after coming in ranked seventh at her weight.
TACOMA — Taylor Lee stood on the podium like a champion.
Because she knew sister Shelby would think of her as one.
No, Taylor didn’t win the 112-pound title at the state girls wrestling tournament Saturday at the Tacoma Dome. That went to sensational sophomore Arian Carpio from Beamer, who pinned her for the third time this season.
But Taylor, a Kentridge senior, honored her late sister by reaching the final match after coming in ranked No. 7. Shelby Lee was killed in a car accident in 2010, three days after Christmas. She was 17, pursuing her GED and the dream of become a beautician.
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“She was my best friend,” Taylor said.
And the reason Taylor started wrestling when she was 6, forever trying to follow in Shelby’s footsteps. Her memory was Taylor’s motivation all season.
“Every time I go out (on the mat), I think, ‘I’m going to do this for you, Shelby, I’m going to do this for you,’ ” Taylor said after pinning her semifinal opponent — which drew a big hug, and tears, from her coach and father, Dan.
“I know she would be proud of me no matter what, but I feel if I win and do well, it’s doing her justice. Because I know she would be out here busting her butt, so I want to do her proud.”
Carpio, unbeaten and ranked No. 1, was motivated by last year’s loss in the 106-pound final to Winlock’s Rachel Archer, who became a three-time champion Saturday.
• Carpio’s teammate, Vanessa Dixon, another Beamer sophomore, placed second at 145, one step higher than last year.
• Pou Lologo, who started wrestling only last season, became Federal Way’s first female champion by pinning top-ranked Kiyana Van Scoyoc, the defending champ at 155. “It feels amazing,” said Lologo, a senior. “I worked so hard. I feel like I deserve it.” Federal Way has had only two male wrestling champions, the most recent in 1988.
• Puyallup freshman Jordan Bartelson pinned top-ranked Bianca Arizpe of Federal Way in the title match at 118. It was the rubber match of the season after the two split four previous bouts. Arizpe, a senior who had won at subs and regionals, is a four-time state medalist.
• K.C. Moulden of Enumclaw, third as a freshman last year, pinned top-ranked Hannah Lewandowski of White River in the 235-pound final.
• Cassidy Meyers, a state champion last year, finished a disappointing eighth at 124, but became Kentwood’s first female wrestler to earn four state medals.
• Warden took the team title with 113.5 points.