Jackson junior standout Telford making major strides | Girls wrestling

Running Start student advanced to state in her first year of wrestling ling
By David Pan | Dec 21, 2018
Photo by: David R Pan Jackson's Maggie Telford is in control of Marysville-Pilchuck’s Kelsie McCallister during a 105-pound match Wednesday, Dec. 19, at Mariner High School. Telford went on to pin McCallister.

To say Maggie Telford is a quick study would be a massive understatement.

A little more than a year ago, Telford joined the Jackson girls wrestling team. A friend, who was on the boys team, encouraged Telford, then a sophomore, to try the sport. She came in with absolutely no experience.

Telford discovered she liked wrestling. And she was good at it. Really good.

An unforgettable season ended with Telford advancing all the way to the state girls championships in the Tacoma Dome, where she had the opportunity to wrestle two matches in the 100-pound division. Telford earned a trip to state with a fourth-place finish at the regional tournament.

“I was pleasantly surprised last season,” Telford said. “But I think last season just proves how much you can accomplish in one year.”

In her first-round match, Telford lost by fall to Woodland’s Ashley Daugherty, who placed third. Puyallup’s Julia Richards then edged Telford 9-5 in a loser-out match. Richards went on to finish eighth.

Like most first-time state participants, Telford felt a little overwhelmed when she stepped into the Tacoma Dome. But she felt right at home when she headed down to the floor for her matches.

“Once I got on the mat and I was wrestling, it was like I wasn’t even there,” Telford said. “I was in my zone on the mat. It was just like it was a practice or a regular match. I get in my zone and I don’t notice everyone else around me.”

Last summer, Telford joined a girls club wrestling team based out of Everett High School and also attended some camps and a tournament.

“I definitely have a lot more knowledge this season than last year and it’s changed my wrestling,” Telford said. “Last season I was very new, so I used my athletic abilities. This year I have a lot more technique under my belt and I’m excited to learn more technique and build that side of my wrestling.”

Telford, who is a full-time Running Start student at Everett Community College, previously has run cross country and track and also played volleyball.

Jackson coach Matt McClinchy thinks that Telford has found her calling.

“She’s a very gifted athlete,” he said. “Mentally, she’s as strong an athlete as I’ve ever coached, boys or girls.”

Telford’s rise to prominence has coincided the doubling of numbers of Wolfpack girl wrestlers – from four to eight. Jackson and Cascade also have combined to form a co-op team. The two teams practice together twice a week with a combined total of 30 wrestlers.

“It’s so nice. We’ve become a really close-knit family,” Telford said. “We have a couple of girls at each weight class. They can help each other at practice. … You really can see the team, in the past couple of weeks, has just grown experience-wise and confidence-wise.”

The same probably could be said of Telford, who is 13-1 overall this season. She won the Yelm Jump on it tournament and finished third at Lynden Pride of the Lady Lions tournament, which featured more than 40 teams.

“I really had strong competition in the 105 bracket. It was good,” Telford said of the Lynden tourney.

The Jackson junior added that she plans to wrestle at 105 for most of the season and then drop down to 100 for the postseason as she did last year.

“A lot of the girls, they go up the same as what I did,” Telford said. “But there are a lot of new ones (at 105), which is exciting – to get to wrestle new people. You learn something new every time you wrestle someone.”

Telford’s goals are to get back to the state tournament and to earn a medal.

“The sky’s the limit for her,” McClinchy said.

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