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By Mark Jurgena
Collinsville sophomore Taylor Dawson had a solid 4-1 mark in the 130-pound class at the 2nd annual IHSA girls state wrestling tournament in Bloomington last weekend.
She ended up in third place in the state after pinning Alejandra Cornejo of Kankakee (H.S.) at the 3:03 mark of their match on Saturday afternoon.
“We knew coming into this match that we had to take home third place,” said Collinsville coach Jordan May. “I explained to her that no matter what place or where she’s wrestling, they’re still just wrestling matches. To put it simply, she dominated her opponent in a flawless fashion and won via pinfall.”
Dawson was defeated in the semifinals Saturday morning by Savannah Hamilton of El Paso-Gridley by a 10-2 major decision.
“Taylor came out and wrestled hard like she usually does,” May said after the match. “However her opponent was wrestling defensively and capitalized on Taylor’s mistakes which ultimately got her the win. While this isn’t the outcome we wanted, we understand there is more wrestling to do and we are going to fight hard for that third place medal.”
Dawson moved into the wrestle back portion of the bracket where she beat Khatija Ahmed Glen Ellyn (Glenbard West) by pinfall at 2:25.
“Taylor came back and wrestled with extreme confidence and opened up,” said May. “She dominated her opponent and pinned her with the cradle.”
On Friday Dawson went 2-0 to set up her semifinal match.
She began her day by beating Sammie Greisen of Seneca (22-14) via pinfall at the 1:16 mark.
“Taylor went out and got the early takedown,” said May. “She was relentless on top with her leg riding and ended up pinning her opponent with a banana split in the first period.”
In the second round, she beat Amari Ridgner Richton Park (Rich Twp.) by pinfall at the 3:47 mark of the match. Ridgner dropped to 22-2 after her match with Dawson.
“Taylor overcame adversity after being down by two,” said May. “She reversed her opponent and pinned her with her signature cross-face cradle!”
Dawson finished with a 34-5 record for the season.
“I am very happy with Taylor’s performance,” May said. “She may not have taken home gold as we all have hoped but I’m very impressed and proud of her for wrestling the way she did at the state finals with her injury. Now it’s time to heal up and come back next year to win it all!”
Attalia Watson-Castro of Homewood-Flossmoor – the 2022 135-pound state champion – beat Hamilton 9-3 for the 130-pound state title. She finished the year 38-1.