Former Maple Ridge secondary wrestler Payten Smith won her first national championship at the 2017 WCWA National Championships on Saturday in Oklahoma City, OK .
Smith claimed her first national title in the 191-pound division, earning an All-American nod and helping the SFU Clan women’s team to a second-place finish.
The ex-Rambler fell into a 9-0 deficit against No. 1 seed Paige Baynes of Lindenwood. With Baynes needing just one more point to pick up the win by technical fall, the Clan junior engineered a wild comeback, dropping her opponent with a pin at the 2:52 mark.
As a team, SFU maintained its place from the first day of the competition as the Clan’s 170.5-point performance saw the team finish behind only the King Tornado (187.5).
The second-place finish marks SFU’s highest final ranking since its WCWA National Championship win in 2013.
Smith earned a silver at the nationals in 2015.
The All-American freshman lost in the championship final of the 72-kg weight class at the 2015 ASICS Junior/Senior Canadian Wrestling Championships at Brock University in St. Catharines last March.
She finished off her outstanding high school wrestling career in 2014 with two national championships.
In January, Smith won her weight division at the Women’s West Coast Tournament of Champions in Rocklin, Calf. The second-year Clan wrestler dominated the 170-pound weight class and took home a gold medal.