Port Angeles wrestler Willow Harvey is joined by teammates, family and coaches for her college signing Wednesday at Port Angeles High School. From left are teammate Kennedy Bruch, grandmother Lorene Douglas, Harvey, mother Tiffany Cabral and coach Brian Cristion. (Pierre LaBossiere/Peninsula News)

Port Angeles wrestler Willow Harvey is joined by teammates, family and coaches for her college signing Wednesday at Port Angeles High School. From left are teammate Kennedy Bruch, grandmother Lorene Douglas, Harvey, mother Tiffany Cabral and coach Brian Cristion. (Pierre LaBossiere/Peninsula News)

GIRLS WRESTLING: Port Angeles' Willow Harvey signs to compete for Providence University

PORT ANGELES — Port Angeles wrestler Willow Harvey is blazing a trail for the Roughriders’ girls wrestling program.

Not only did Harvey place at the Mat Classic state wrestling championships this past weekend, she is now the first member of the Riders’ girls wrestling team to sign to wrestle for a college women’s wrestling program.

Harvey signed Wednesday to wrestle for Providence University, an NAIA school in Great Falls, Mont.

Harvey comes from a wrestling background.

“She’s carrying on the Harvey tradition,” said grandmother Lorene Douglas. Her grandmother said Harvey has several family members from Colorado who wrestle, including one who moved on to become an MMA fighter.

Harvey’s teammate Kennedy Bruch said she will be missed by the team.

“I’ve watched you put your all into everything 24-7. I’m so glad I watched you grow,” she said.

Harvey won a pair of matches at the Mat Classic to place sixth at 130 pounds. Just making it to the Tacoma Dome is tough, especially on the girls side as the girls are grouped together at regionals by multiple classes. The bigger 3A and 4A schools send most of the kids to the Mat Classic though the sport has grown enough that last year, the state finally split girls wrestling into two divisions — 1B/2B/1A/2A in one and 3A/4A in the other.

It was Harvey’s first trip to the Mat Classic, and she followed through by earning a medal in her final weekend wrestling for the Riders.

Harvey said she has loved wrestling her whole life.

“I love the family aspect of wrestling. I want to go on to coach,” Harvey said.

She’s making the big move 1,000 miles away to Great Falls because she got a chance to practice with the Argos’ wrestling squad, which is a large team with more than 30 women participating.

“It was the family aspect that I loved. I didn’t care about the stats and record,” she said.

Providence is one of the top women’s wrestling programs at the NAIA level, finishing four in the Nationals Duels last month. The Argos are ranked No. 5 in the NAIA.

Port Angeles Principal Jeff Lunt, who has lived in North Dakota, did warn Harvey she will have to bundle up for Great Falls, which can get down to 30 below zero.

“Get some warm clothing,” he joked.

As an aside, Davien Harris-Williams and Jaylin Reed, who starred for Peninsula College men’s basketball, now play for Providence, so there is an athletic pipeline between Port Angeles and the school.

________

Sports Editor Pierre LaBossiere can be contacted at 360-417-3525 or sports@peninsulanews.us.

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