Bearcats Brawl for Team Title
By Jordan Nailon
CHEHALIS — W.F. West claimed top billing at their own tournament here on Saturday as they held off the likes of Yelm, Centralia and Camas on the mats.
The Bearcats took first place as a team with 236 team points while Yelm finished second with 195 points.
“We had three guys win it,” W.F. West coach Jamie Rakevich said.
Caleb Walters (126), Zach Evans (132) and Darren Gray (138) were all individual champions for the Bearcats. Rakevich said it’s an advantage to have so many talented wrestlers stacked so closely in their weight classes.
“It helps a lot. The joke was at the beginning of the year that we had the best nine guys at 138 pounds in the state,” Rakevich said.
W.F. West also wound up with a trio of runners-up and a handful of third place finishes. Connor Trohdahl (145), Desmond Parriott (160) and Isaac Revis (195) all placed second in the tournament.
“Kayden Ryan came back after a month off and took third at 113. It was good to see him back,” Rakevich said.
Damina Hernandez (106), Bo Davis (120), Bryce Laufenberg (152), Brock Guyette (182), Daniel Matagi (220) and Bryson Boyd (285) all wound up placing third for the Bearcats as well.
“The guys competed really well. We needed to get a little momentum going here heading into postseason so that was good,” Rakevich said. “That’s the last one before postseason for us as far as tournaments and it’s always good to see guys from Yelm, Camas and Sedro-Wooley and some state quality wrestlers.”
With a mash unit of wrestlers on their roster Centralia was still able to finish third as a team with 148 points.
“Chehalis has a lot of depth. They don’t have any weights where they are bad or inexperienced,” Centralia coach Scott Phillips said. “Considering we only filled ten weight classes, including a couple of JV fill-ins, we did pretty decent in my opinion.”
Juan Gaspar claimed a first place finish for the Tigers at 113 pounds, which is where Phillips hopes his wrestler will be for the postseason.
“In his final match he looked really tough again,” Phillips said of Gaspar. “Juan’s ranked 4th in state and wrestling really tough right now. He’s just a ball of muscle if you’ve seen him. He’s as built as can be at that weight.”
Justin Lake was a champion at 145 pounds for the Tigers and Caleb Hylton took first at 170 pounds.
“He avenged a loss against the Chehalis kid in the semifinals,” Phillips said of Lake.
Phillips was impressed with the performances that Hylton turned in all day, as well.
“Caleb just kind of handled everybody today,” Phillips said. “Even his final match was supposed to be tough against the Camas kid as a returning state placer but Caleb threw him on his back early and pinned him.”
Eddie Matias turned in a second place finish at 126 pounds for Centralia and Alex Hicks-Avron also made it to the finals at 138 pounds before falling to a Bearcat.
Centralia will host Aberdeen on Wednesday and will then head to the Tumwater All-Comers Meet on Saturday.
W.F. West will host Black Hills on Wednesday for senior night before making up a postponed match at Tumwater on Friday.