Harlin steps up to lead Warriors


December 14, 2023

Members of the Mules wrestling team. Photos courtesy of Kyliegh Harlin

When Frankie Mendez, a former wrestling coach for Wahkiakum High School, mentioned that the program needed leadership to continue, Kyliegh Harlin decided to step up.

A native of Kalama, she graduated from Kalama High School in 2007 before moving to Cathlamet in 2015 with her family. A one time paraeducator at the district, Harlin has been selling real estate for Realty West for the past four years.

"It was put on my heart to help and make sure that these kids had a team and were given an opportunity to wrestle if they so chose to wrestle," said Harlin. "My brother wrestled. I always loved the sport and I always went to watch him. My parents did not want me wrestling as a girl. I just went and supported him and watched and learned."

Harlin coached youth teams while raising her two children, and enjoys coaching for the connection with kids, learning more about them, and being able to understand what they need, she said.

"I think it was a huge benefit to work at the school and now get to coach," Harlin added.

Middle school championships were last weekend, and according to Harlin, all the kids in the Warrior program did really well.

"Night and day difference from the first practice," she said. "Six out of eight kids on the team placed.

The Warrior team this year included William Adams, Steve Guitron, Jayden Rance, Laine Snead, Chloe Sutton, Brock West, Kasey Tomlinson, and Kaydin Jaksha, who is now representing the Mule team as an eighth grader.

"So far he is doing fantastic," Harlin said. Jaksha went two for four in his first high school tournament.

There are a total of 12 athletes wrestling for the Mules this season.

This includes three girls, whom Harlin says have been very successful so far, senior Lilian Hale, Zaya Ray and Harlin's daughter, freshman Lilly Snead.

Hale placed first in her weight bracket at the first two girls tournaments of the season. Ray took first place in the Mules' second tournament. And after four years off from the sport, Snead took first place in her first high school tournament and fourth in her second tournament.

Rounding out the team are Isaiah Pena, Harley Popp, Mason Curl, Brody Ashe, and Marlon Aparicio.

"They are all hard workers," Harlin said. "We have several new kids this year who have never seen a mat. They have a ton of potential. I'm excited to see what they do this season."

Harlin is joined by Assistant Coach Trystan Mendez, a former Mule wrestler.


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