POULSBO — “Getting knocked out doesn’t seem very fun to me.”
For North Kitsap High School freshman Holly Beaudoin, state champion runner-up, winning is just another piece of the puzzle when you add the mat, the opponent and a risk of failing.
“Winning a state championship is my goal,” Beaudoin said. “So that’s what I’m working towards. I’m going to keep wrestling over the summer, go to a few big tournaments and train really hard. Hopefully, I’ll be able to take it next year.”
It’s a normal life juggling homework, club practice and school wrestling for Beaudoin, who’s been club wrestling for more than six years. Beaudoin still recalls her first wrestling match.
“I was probably eight years old,” she said. “I was wrestling against a 12-year-old but she was really small … I got thrown in a head -and-arm and pinned really fast.”
She learned from the start that wrestling wasn’t easy and that the archaic sport takes more than muscle. It takes strategy.
In her times on the mat over the past few years, the teenager has sustained a dislocated elbow, torn ligaments in her arm and a spiral fracture to her tibia.
Beaudoin didn’t cry or even whimper. She kept on wrestling.
“I had a lot of adrenaline and I didn’t want to stop,” she said. “It wasn’t until the boy took me down and landed on my leg with his shin that I couldn’t’ wrestle. I was just mad that he was beating me.”
So when Beaudoin walked into the ring during the 2A Girls State Wrestling Championship Feb. 18 at the Tacoma Dome, she already had a plan. Just after winning her semifinal match, reality started sinking in that she was down to the final shot.
“I was trying to figure out a game plan for my match so I could get mentally prepared for it,” she said. “I was going to go out and do my favorite move, the fly-by — and if that didn’t work, I would do probably a single leg — anything to take her down.”
With the fly-by move, a wrestler ties up with their opponent and waits for the moment to provide forward pressure. Beaudoin was waiting for the moment to hook her opponent’s arm and drag her down to the mat.
After taking second place at the state championships, Beaudoin recalled feeling disappointed.
“I was a little upset at first,” she said. “I really wanted to take first … but I guess it was a pretty good accomplishment as a freshman to place second.”
She plans to accomplish that goal next year.
Regarding the sport, she said she’ll definitely continue it for the duration of her high-school career. As to why, Beaudoin couldn’t explain it.
“I don’t know why I love it,” she said. “I’ve been doing it since I was young, it’s just kind of become a part of me.”
— Sophie Bonomi is a reporter with the Kitsap News Group. Contact her at email@example.com.