North Beach High School senior Natasha Früh hopes to add to the family legend this month as she seeks a state wrestling championship. In the 2B District IV sub-regional wrestling tournament Saturday at Centralia’s Northwest Sports Hub, she went 2-0 to earn the top seed for the regional tournament that begins at 10 a.m. this Saturday, Feb. 10, at Aberdeen High School’s Sam Benn gymnasium.
Her brother, Daniel Früh, won the state title in the 285-lb. class in 2014. She wrestles in the girls 235-lb. class, and carries a 24-3 season record into the regional meet. Teammate Arianna Salmond took third place in the same class and will move on to the regional meet as the third seed.
Garrett Armbruster, in the 126-lb. weight class for the Hyak boys, got beat by decision in the third round of Saturday’s district match to take the second seed into the regionals this Saturday at Kalama High School. Taano Estavillo (195 weight class) had to fight to move forward, ending up seventh in a large group to take the last spot in the regional meet, where he will have to survive a loser-out “pigtail” match to advance into the main bracket.
For Natasha, it’s been a long journey from an eighth grader who “wasn’t that interested,” to a championship contender. Her mother insisted that all seven of the Früh kids be active in sports throughout the school year. “I was already involved in volleyball and track, but nothing in the winter, and I wasn’t interested in basketball,” she explained. Brother Daniel and sister Olivia had wrestled for the Hyaks, so Natasha decided to give it a try.
“I didn’t have hardly any matches at the eighth-grade level. My freshman year, I got demolished all the time. I went to state but didn’t go anywhere” as a sophomore. Last year, she finished fourth in state.
The Hyaks’ first-year wrestling coach, Chris Ferguson, said Natasha’s “wrestling intelligence is off the charts, which is one of the reasons we’ve been putting her in the toughest tournaments, against big 3A and 4A schools.” He explained that, due to relatively low numbers participating in girls high school wrestling in Washington, all school size classes wrestle together. That means small rural schools can be matched against much larger big city schools.
But Ferguson firmly believes that, despite that sort of obstacle, Natasha “absolutely has what it takes to wrestle for a state title,” and could also find success if she chooses to continue wrestling at the collegiate level.
That might not fit into her overall plan. She is already participating in Grays Harbor College’s Running Start program and has set her sights on becoming an endocrinologist. To compete in the top college women’s weight class of 191 lbs., she would have to lose weight. That’s a challenge made more difficult by the fact that she was diagnosed last year with diabetes type 1.
Right now, she’s focused on winning her regional matches Saturday and advancing to the state tournament, Feb. 16-17 in the Tacoma Dome. So far this season, “it’s gone really well,” she smiled, but to win a state championship “takes a lot of hard work and mental toughness.”