Friday’s State Wrestling: Area Wrestlers Holding Onto Podium Hopes at Mat Classic
Bloated Opener: Expanded Brackets Make for Extra Long Day at Tacoma Dome
By The Chronicle
TACOMA — After the first day of the new format Mat Classic there’s still a sizeable contingent of area wrestlers who have their sights set on a state championship.
With the new 32-wrestler brackets in play following the snow-induced cancelation of the Regional tournaments a total of 71 grapplers from The Chronicle coverage area headed up Interstate 5 to test their mettle on the sport’s most chaotic stage on Friday.
Ashton Dowell of Adna leads that contingent of championship hopefuls. The 170 pounder brought home a state title last year from the Mat Classic and has set himself up with a chance to do it again after winning his lone match on Friday. Dowell received a bye in the first round before dropping Brandon Long of Lake Roosevelt by fall in the first round of their match.
That win sets Dowell up with a quarterfinal match with Elijah Burnell of Oroville in the quarterfinals on Saturday. If he reaches the title match he will likely wrestle last year’s 170-pound champion from the 1A ranks, Kaden Krouse of Chewelah, now that the Cougars are in the 1B/2B ranks.
Adna was able to advance three other boys to the quarterfinal rounds thanks go a strong opening effort. Tristan Ridley (132) received a bye to start the day before pinning Chad Doyen of Republic-Curlew in the first frame of their second round match. Lucas Ashley (152) also opened his day with a bye before pinning Jonah Cwik of Liberty-Spangle in the third period to stay in the winner’s bracket. Matthew Slape (160) was the third Pirate to advance on the front end of the bracket when he skated with a bye before defeating Austin Brock of Tonasket 8-6.
Trey Rego (145) of Toledo was the other wrestler from the 1B/2B ranks to remain in contention for a state title. Like the other small school wrestlers Rego opened the day with a bye before pinning David Lopez of Mabton in 1:49.
In the 2A brackets there are four wrestlers who finished the day undefeated and still dreaming of a title shot.
W.F. West had two wrestlers reach the quarterfinals. Mason Morones (132) of W.F. West won his opening round match 11-4 and then notched a pin to advance. Isaac Reavis (195), another Bearcat, won 8-0 by major decision over Korben Modoc of Washougal to start his day and then dropped Jose Avila of Quincy by a score of 9-6.
Caleb Hylton (160) of Centralia was able to reach the quarterfinals by notching pins in both of his matches. Jayden Lancaster (145) of Rochester pinned Mason Burbidge of Tumwater in his first match and then dropped Kaden Rodriguez of River Ridge in 3:23 to stay in title contention.
Rochester coach Jason Dick said that Lancaster had himself a particularly entertaining day. Dick noted that Burbidge is a returning state-placer who has had bad blood with Lancaster in the past.
“They’ve had a few scraps the last few years so Jayden really wanted to get him. He basically called his shot on how he was going to beat him and went out there and did it,” said Dick. “It’s good rivalry stuff.”
Centralias coach Scott Phillips sounded relieved after Hylton lodged his two victories.
“He got the two wins which I give him credit for. He gutted them out but they were a little sloppy,” Phillips said. “The effort was there he just kind of lost his mind a little bit with his technique. We’ll need to clean that up tomorrow.”
Phillips noted that Hylton will face stiff competition in his quarterfinal match when he squares off with Nathan Moore of White River.
“He’s a two time returning state champion so it’s a tough draw,” noted Phillips.
In girls action a pair of area wrestlers remain in contention for a state title run.
Returning fifth place finisher Cheyann Meyer of Adna won her first 126 pound match by fall over Josalyn Ortiz of Washougal and then pinned Autumn Miller of Auburn to reach the quarterfinals.
At 140 pounds Xylia Warner of W.F. West pinned Lacey Klopman of Washougal in 59 seconds to start her day and then pinned Lindy Smith of Wilson in 3:17 to reach the quarterfinal round.
A mess of area wrestlers also managed to stay alive into the final day of the season in the consolation bracket.
In the 2A ranks, Henry Robbins (106) of W.F. West bounced back from an opening round loss to notch a 10-1 win and then a pin to stay alive.
At 113 pounds Darren Gray of W.F. West won his first match 6-0 but then lost 6-1 in the second round. Gray managed to advance via forfeit and will face Juan Gaspar of Centralia to start on Saturday. Meanwhile, Gaspar lost his opening match but bounced back with a pin over Logan Nickels of Bremerton to set up his win-or-go-home match with Gray. Caden Cunningham of W.F. West also lost his opening match but then won 13-5 before securing a pin to make it to Saturday.
In the 120 pound bracket Jeremy Brant of Rochester won 4-3 over Brady Anderson of Mark Morris to start his tournament but then lost to Clay Johns of Ephrata before bouncing back with a pin to stay alive. Bo Davis of W.F. West won by fall in his first match but then lost 4-2 to drop into the consolation rounds. Davis defeated William Smith of Steilacoom with a shutout decision to extend his season. Fellow Bearcat Caleb Walters pinned his first opponent but then lost 4-2 before bouncing back with an 8-3 decision to stay alive. Centralia’s Alex Hicks-Avron notched a pin to start the day but fell by a major points decision in his following match. Hicks-Avron notched a consolation pin to make it to Saturday’s competition.
At 126 pounds Eddie Matias of Centralia opened up with a pin over Talon Betts of Rochester but then fell 3-0 before lodging a 3-1 victory in the backside of the bracket. Zach Evans of W.F. West lost 5-1 in his opener but then won by a 12-1 major decision and a pin to stay alive.
Riley Cohron of Rochester won his first 132-pound match by fall before dropping his second match 9-6. Cohron won his consolation match 13-5 to extend his season one more day.
In 138 pound action Justin Lake of Centralia lost 9-8 in his first match but then lodged a pin and a 11-10 decision to advance. Kyle Gray of W.F. West won 5-0 early in the day but then fell 7-1 before rebounding with an 8-2 win.
Chris Powe of W.F. West delivered a pin in his first 182 pound match but then lost 5-1 to fall into the consolation bracket. Powe secured another pin in a loser-out match to advance.
In the heavyweight tilts Chase Conaway of W.F. West pinned his first foe before falling 7-0 in the next round. He notched a 3-0 win in consolation action to advance. Tomas Ashton of Rochester also won by fall in his first match but was then pinned himself in his follow up match. Ashton slammed home a pin in 20 seconds in his one consolation match.
The 1B/2B ranks also had a smattering of wrestlers advance with an outside shot at the podium.
In 120 pound action Thaikhan Tripp of Adna accepted a bye in the first round before getting pinned by Sammy Mania of Northwest Christian. Another bye on the bottom of the bracket moved him along to Saturday. Meanwhile, Bradley Yarbrough of Napavine was pinned in his match before receiving a bye and then pinning his opponent in a loser-out match.
At 152 pounds Jesse Weeks of Toledo notched a pin in the first 21 seconds of his first match before falling victim to pin himself to fall into consolation competition. He pinned his next opponent to stay alive.
Ethan Buck of Toledo (160) received a bye and then lost 5-0 in his follow up match. Buck bounced back with a 17-2 technical fall victory to make it to Saturday.
In 190 pound action Hunter Smith of Toledo lost by fall in his first contest but escaped with a 2-0 win in his next match to stay alive. Grant Bennett of Napavine lost by fall to start his day but a pair of byes extended his tournament.
Michael Echtle of Toledo took a bye to open up his turn in the 220 pound bracket but then fell 9-1 to Augie Allenbach of Colfax to drop into the consolation bracket. A pair of byes moved Echtle along to Saturday.
In the 1A ranks Karlton Hisaw and Robert Marti of Tenino managed to stay alive in the consolation bracket. Hisaw won his first match 8-3 but then lost a major decision before notching a pin to stay alive. Marti lost 9-4 in his opening contest but bounced back with a 5-1 win and a pin to make it to Saturday.
Three girl wrestlers also managed to escape into Saturday through the consolation rounds. Taryn Salazar of Centralia notched a pin in her first 100 pound match but then lost by fall before registering another pin to move on. Fellow Tiger Angelina Contreras lost by fall in her first 135 pound match before advancing to Saturday thanks to an injury default and a pin.
Jamiah Christin of Tenino won her first 115 pound match by fall but then fell victim to a pin in her second match. Christin registered a pin in her final match of the day to make it to the final day of the season.
Feelings were mixed among coaches after the first day of the super-sized Mat Classic.
“I think we’re pretty happy overall. We only brought five and all five of them are still in contention and possibly placing,” said Phillips of his Tigers.
He added that he likes the chances of all four of his wrestlers in the consolation rounds to make it to the podium Saturday.
“I would say Eddie Matias has a good chance of placing and Justin Lake has been wrestling as well as he has all season at this tournament,” added Phillips.
Jason Dick from Rochester said it was a mixed bag for his team in the expanded format tournament.
“It went about as expected… For the boys I was hoping that we’d do a little bit better with some guys but state’s tough,” said Dick. “I don’t mind the 32-man tournament. I think the seeding is not that great and we were running late so we didn’t finish our final round. I don’t like the format. I think if they were to redo it they should either go all day or do a 16-man bracket because we are way behind.”
Wrestling will begin at 9:45 a.m. for all classifications on Saturday at the Tacoma Dome.