Wrestling: Atkinson leads Rochelle at inaugural Rockford East Girls Invitational

Lady Hub junior wins 155-pound division title on Saturday

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ROCKFORD — Junior Dempsey Atkinson rolled through the 155-pound bracket during the first-ever Rockford East Girls Wrestling Invitational on Saturday, winning four consecutive bouts to take home the division championship and secure Rochelle’s lone title in the tournament.

Atkinson went 4-0 in the 155-pound division, leading the Lady Hubs to eighth out of 22 schools with 51 total points. The junior received a first-round bye before earning a hard-fought win over Geneseo’s Mady Mooney, winning via 9-7 decision. Atkinson took a 1-0 lead in the match after a second-period escape before recording a two-point near fall and a takedown in the third period.

“It was really cool to see a bunch of girls come out since it was the first all-girls tournament at Rockford East,” Atkinson said. “There were 16 girls in my bracket, which was really tough because there was a lot of competition, but it felt really good to win first because it was one of my first wins at an all-girls tournament. I was pretty consistent with my headlocks and I got into a little bit of trouble on my back, but I was able to pin in two of my three matches after reversals.”

Atkinson cruised over Riverside-Brookfield’s Estefany Bejarano in the semifinal round, taking her down in the first period before turning a second-period reversal into a pin to clinch her spot in the championship match. Atkinson squared off against Richmond-Burton’s Julieanna Beese for the division title, overcoming a 4-0 deficit with a quick reversal-to-pin combination. Atkinson was one of four RTHS wrestlers who represented the Lady Hubs in Saturday’s tournament.

“Wrestling during the freestyle season taught me a lot more about technique and I’ve learned more skills that will help me during the folkstyle season,” Atkinson said. “I wrestled a lot of good girls and boys last season, so those matches have helped prepare me for this season. I’m really hoping to place at the state tournament and if I work at it, I think I can win the state tournament.”

Sophomore Cammyla Macias took second in the 125-pound division with a 3-1 record. Macias recorded a first-round fall over Richmond-Burton’s Alana Echevarria and a second-round 9-7 decision against Geneseo’s Lydia King before conceding a fall against Thornton’s Destiny Bright. Macias received a forfeit by injury default from Prairie Ridge’s Rilynn Reinhardt.

Freshman Paris Washington finished fourth in the 135-pound division with a 2-2 record. Washington started the tournament with back-to-back wins, defeating Cary-Grove’s Shelby Pijut and Richmond-Burton’s Charlotte Gentry on consecutive falls. Washington’s tournament ended with losses by fall against Fremd wrestlers Lloyd Kowalczyk and Kandice Wallace.

Freshman Scarlet Jones finished with an 0-2 record over two bouts in the 170-pound division.