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Kingston's Witt takes state championship
KINGSTON - When asked if she expected to win the state wrestling championship at the 21st annual Mat Classic, Kingston's Kiana Witt simply nods her head as a shy smile creases her lips.
No one who has seen Witt compete was particularly surprised when the referee raised the Kingston sophomore's hand after the girls' 112-pound title bout Saturday in Tacoma.
"I was pretty happy," she said of her own reaction to the victory.
Witt has already racked up a dozen wins against the girls in her weight class, and has yet to lose to a fellow female wrestler.
But classifying Witt as simply a good "female" wrestler would be a mistake. She has been exceptional against the boys too, going 24-5 this season against wrestlers with a Y chromosome.
"She's an extreme competitor," said her coach, Bobby Reece. "Not very many people have that competitiveness between the whistles."
Winning the first place trophy was a battle for Witt, who fought a cold and an injury to her right shoulder throughout the championship weekend. As a result of her injury, Witt was forced to rely on the strength of her left side more than usual. Even so, she was not distracted, and made the necessary changes to her technique to come out victorious.
"When I get on the mat and the whistle blows," said Witt, "I block everything out and just wrestle."
After the win, Witt and her mother, Diana, went out for a celebratory meal at a fondue restaurant, but Witt could barely keep her eyes open.
"It's very draining emotionally," Reece said of the state tournament. "It's an emotional rollercoaster just watching some of these kids."
Heading into the offseason, Witt plans to attend wrestling camps and practice her freestyle technique. She expects to be a contender again next year as a junior. But first, she will have to rest up and make sure that shoulder heals properly.
"She did what she was supposed to do," said Reece. "I couldn't be more proud of her."