Two notches up the ladder each year finally resulted in a state championship for Redmond High’s Molly Williams.
The thrilled wrestler leapt into the arms of her coaches and unleashed a beaming smile after all was said and done.
With a dominant 12-1 victory over Iyazely Barraza of Othello in the 115-pound girls division, the Mustang senior notched the state title on Feb. 22 at the Tacoma Dome. Williams completed her season with a 41-1 record and finished her Redmond career with a 142-20 mark.
Williams — who finished seventh as a freshman, fifth as a sophomore and third as a junior — defeated Barraza three times this season. The final meeting was the most exhilarating one of the bunch in front of a packed Tacoma Dome at Mat Classic XXXII.
“It’s awesome, I’ve been waiting so long to be state champ,” Williams said. “My freshman year, I remember coming here and being so overwhelmed and thought this was the coolest place ever. And I knew I really wanted to win it.”
Added Redmond head coach Bob Kaneko: “She worked so hard. Nobody worked harder, nobody put in more time or more effort. She just flat-out earned it. There were definitely some nerves, but she was confident, she knew she was ready for this.”
She is Redmond’s first girls state champion.
Williams advanced to the championship match after toughing it out with a 6-4 semifinal win over Shelby Moore of White River. The Mustang opened the tournament by quickly dispatching Kylee Heaston of Capital with a 23-second fall, and then beat Bianca Johnson of Moses Lake with a fall in 1:38.
It turns out that Williams’ sister had a plan on the table for her to move up two places each year at state and finish at the top as a senior.
“I told her I hated that plan, because I wanted to be a state champ multiple times,” said Williams, who noted with a laugh that her sister said the plan was on target after the wrestler was crushed after losing in the semifinals last season. “Yeah, I followed (her) plan.”
To prepare for her senior year, Williams grinded it out on the wrestling mat with her Chain Wrestling club, the Washington girls dual team in Oklahoma, at nationals in North Dakota and much more.
“A whole lot of wrestling,” said Williams, who planned to celebrate her state title with her team that night and devour some food that wasn’t previously on her menu in order to make weight. She couldn’t think of a specific meal at press time, noting that she was so focused on winning first.
Williams is certain that being involved with Redmond wrestling has been a stellar experience for the last four years.
“Redmond wrestling, they have some amazing coaches. I’ve loved every practice, no matter how hard it is. I have learned how to work hard, not just wrestling but like school and other aspects in life,” said Williams, adding that her family and coaches have been massively supportive of her wrestling endeavors and she wouldn’t have reaped so much success without them.
She doesn’t plan on wrestling in college, but still wants to be involved with the sport in some way. She’s also interested in taking on a sports-related role as a physical therapist or an athletic trainer some day.
For now, she’s finally a state champion and soaked up the winning atmosphere by taking photos with her coaches and standing in the top spot on the victory podium.