Yakima Valley Women Earn National Wrestling Title

03/17/2009 -

HAMPTON, Va. — Yakima Valley’s first-year women’s wrestling team has won a national championship.

The Yaks, competing in the women’s division of the National Collegiate Wrestling Association championships that concluded Saturday at Hampton University.

YVCC claimed top team honors with Simon Fraser University, Pacific University of Oregon, San Jose State and Mercer University of Georgia rounding out the top five.

An NCWA Web site listed 18 colleges and universities in its women’s division. Among them are Auburn University, the University of Colorado and San Jose State.

“We had a killer day,” said Yakima Valley co-coach Mike Schmitt via telephone, who along with Tito Pimentel and former YVCC mentor Bob Spain launched the women’s team last year. “We did way better than we expected.”

Tamika Jones won the championship at 105 pounds, as did Ashlee Phy at 130 and Monique Dilliner at 159. Phy was named the tournament’s outstanding wrestler and also had the most pins in the fastest time.

Earning All-American honors by finishing in the top three were Cady Chambers at 112 (second), Christina Stanley at 121 (third) and Rachel Segura at 139 (third).

Phy and Dilliner won their titles, and with them valuable team points, by defeating opponents they had recently lost to.

“Ashlee lost to the girls who finished second and third, but then beat each of them here,” Schmitt said. “She got pretty well thumped by one of them.”

Phy defeated Pacific’s Summer Scott in the finals while Dilliner won her title over Simon Fraser’s Taylor Dick.

Dilliner and Dick had split four previous matches, with the SFU wrestler winning via pin in their most recent encounter.

“Another great story is Rachel,” Schmitt said of the 2005 Eisenhower graduate who had competed in track and field, volleyball and basketball but had not wrestled. “She walked onto the team without being recruited about halfway through the season. I was worried about her getting hurt, and I didn’t think she’d even win a match. But obviously, she got way better.”

As did many other Yaks.

“We don’t have harder working-people at YVCC, let alone harder-working student athletes,” said Pimentel. “They’ve won everybody over.”

Schmitt and Pimentel were named coaches of the year.

“We had about 15 total girls come and go,” Schmitt said, “but these are the ones who stuck it out to the end and dealt with a lot of junk throughout the year. I thought we might have an outside chance if everybody stepped it up, but did not expect anything like this.”

He also said six new teams will join the women’s division for next season.

“It’s great for the sport and it’s great for us to have done this,” Schmitt said. “We got our foot in the door at the right time. It will obviously help us in recruiting because we’re already known to be good.”

Good enough to be national champions, even.