Kamiak’s Cantini earns medal | Girls wrestling

Defending state champ de la Cruz unable to repeat due to injury
By David Pan | Feb 21, 2018
Photo by: David R Pan Kamiak’s Diana Cantini defeated Mount Vernon’s Kaylee Gaines in the seventh/eighth place 105-pound match at Mat Classic XXX Saturday, Feb. 17, in the Tacoma Dome.

Diana Cantini had an apparent victory taken away at the last second in the 105-pound seventh/eighth place at the state girls wrestling tournament.

The Kamiak sophomore was trailing Mount Vernon’s Kaylee Gaines 3-2 with time winding down when Cantini spun around her opponent. The referee initially awarded her two points and the match.

Seconds later officials ruled that the referee was tapped late, but Cantini still was awarded one point for loss of control and the score was tied at 3.

Cantini refocused and scored a takedown in overtime to win the match 5-3 at Mat Classic XXX Saturday, Feb. 17, in the Tacoma Dome.

“I know I’m good on my feet. I’m good on my shots,” said Cantini, who went 1-2 in the 100 division last season. “I did the same shots that I usually do.”

Cantini came into the state tournament with two goals – advancing to the second day and earning a spot on the podium.

“I reached my goals and it feels amazing,” she said.

Kamiak coach Bryan Stelling praised Cantini’s poise after the confusing end to the match.

“To come back and come out and take her right now … that was such a good finish,” Stelling said. “I told her, ‘You didn’t lose your composure. You went out there aggressively and took her on. It was awesome.”

Saturday’s match was the fourth time Cantini and Gaines have faced each other. Cantini has won the last two matches.

“She’s a tough wrestler,” Cantini said.

Teammate Ally de la Cruz also displayed her toughness in coming home with a sixth place medal. The Kamiak senior won the 155 title last year and was considered the favorite this year at 140.

Stelling said that de la Cruz suffered what appeared to be a dislocation of her clavicle during a 6-3 victory over Wapato’s Estrella Pulgarin.

During the match, de la Cruz got reversed and her shoulders were pinched together, Stelling said.

“We don’t know if it’s a severe sprain or fracture,” the Kamiak coach said. “She finished the match because she had adrenaline to do that.”

After the match, the injury continued to bother de la Cruz and that night it became swollen.

The Kamiak standout worked out with an assistant coach on Saturday but could not take any pressure on her arm.

“Her parents, coaches and Ally all decided it’s not in her interest to be wrestling,” Stelling said. “She could really get hurt bad.”

De la Cruz ended her high school career as the school’s most decorated wrestler with first-, second-, third- and sixth-place finishes at state.

“We’re very proud of her for all of her accomplishments in wrestling as well as other sports,” Stelling said. “To be a captain on the swim team and the wrestling team and the track team and be a multi-sport athlete, that’s quite a feat.”

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