She moved from Snohomish to Lake Stevens, but she's still favored to win a state wrestling championship.
Kiley Hubby handles challenges on the wrestling mat like a champ.
She is, in fact, among the handful of returning girls champions at this weekend’s Mat Classic XXXI at the Tacoma Dome.
Some personal challenges over the past several months have been more difficult to tackle for 16-year-old Hubby, a junior who transferred from Glacier Peak High School to Lake Stevens last fall after her parents moved from Snohomish. Missing friends and questioning faith made it difficult to keep her weight in check, she said.
After winning at 145 last year, and placing third at 140 as a sophomore Hubby had hoped to wrestle at 155. She was ranked No. 1 there to start the season, and rated No. 4 nationally at 152 by FloWrestling in November, coming off a pair of national titles earlier in the year.
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But Hubby has settled in at 170 for state, the next weight classification after 155 for high-school girl wrestlers, and ranks No. 1. She pinned her way to a subregional title this month.
“I honestly have been kind of distracted this year with a lot of personal stuff,” Hubby said. “My mind has kind of been all over the place, and my weight kind of got out of control. I’m still working on that right now, trying to get back on track and get where I need to be at.”
She said she missed her friends and teammates after the move and felt her faith, which has always been important to her, was being challenged.
“I’m trying figure out what God has planned for me,” Hubby said.
Wrestling became a part of her life when she was in fourth grade. Her younger brother joined a club and a week later, she joined, too. She wrestled boys and originally approached it as a way to get stronger for softball, which was her primary sport as a catcher/third-baseman — until wrestling won her over.
“It makes me tough mentally and physically,” said Hubby, who took last year off from softball but plans to turn out this spring. “I really like the challenge and competition, even though it’s a lot of work.”
She began wrestling girls as a freshman at Glacier Peak, and was disappointed with her third-place finish at state, when she lost in the quarterfinals and then won her final four.
“I think I could have done better,” Hubby said. “Honestly, I was in my own head. I was kind of wide-eyed and the bright lights at the Dome was kind of intense. … I didn’t wrestle as well as I was capable of.”
She left no doubt last year at 145 after an opening-round bye, pinning two of her three opponents in the first period.
As hesitant as she was changing schools (although she takes her classes online), Hubby embraced the opportunity to work with coach Brent Barnes, who has built a powerhouse program at Lake Stevens.
“I’m super grateful for my new coaches and teammates,” she said.
Barnes describes her as a hard worker, strong and smart.
“She’s had a lot of experiencing and is technically pretty sound,” he said. “She’s also pretty driven. She likes the sport and wants to do really well. … She has high aspirations (after high school) and it shows every day. She’s really consistent.”
One of those aspirations is qualifying for the U.S. cadet women’s team Barnes will be coaching this summer in the world championships in Bulgaria.
“It would be a dream come true if I could have one of my actual wrestlers be on that team,” he said. “It doesn’t happen that often, but it’s not out of the realm. Not to put undue pressure on Kiley, but she knows what’s out there, but if she takes care of all of her business and is at the right weight class, I think she has a shot, because she’s really good.”
That’s on Hubby’s list of goals, for sure — but first she wants to win another state championship, without putting pressure on herself.
“I’m just trying to go out there and stay relaxed, and bring the right approach to the state tournament,” she said. “I’m just trying to go out there and leave it all on the mat.”
Girls Mat Classic
When: Friday and Saturday.
Where: Tacoma Dome.
Follow along: @TimesPrepsMattM, @wiaawa on Twitter.
Top storylines: Sophomore Ofa He Lotu Tuifua of Kent-Meridian is the defending champion at 190, pinning her way to last year’s title. But she is ranked No. 2 behind Aberdeen’s Tatum Heikkila, who lost to He Lotu Fuifua in the semifinals and came back to finish fourth and defeated her earlier this season. … The 135-pound class should be interesting, too, with two former champions ranked 1-2 — Allison Blaine of Hudson’s Bay (first at 135 last year) and Viktorya Torres of Granger (first at 110 in 2017, second at 115 in ’18). … With weather forcing the cancellation of regionals and the creation of 32-person brackets, this state tournament will be unique and should shatter the team scoring record of 139, which Sedro-Woolley hit in 2009 and 2010. Unranked Yelm is the two-time defending team champion (scoring 108 last year) but is not expected to be a factor this season.
Five others to watch: Molly Williams (115), Jr., Redmond (ranked No. 1 ahead of Yelm senior Phoenix Debose, the defending champion); Raisa Pleasants (115), Sr., Jefferson (three-time medalist); Taylor Wilson (100), so., Hanford (defending champion); Kenzie Cormier (110), Jr., Enumclaw (two-time medalist).
Favorites: White River, Sunnyside, Union (Vancouver).
Last: No. 5 Federal Way seeds a fourth straight team trophy (fourth in 2018, second in 2017, third in 2016).