Mat Classic: Two Area Wrestlers Reach the Top of the Mountain
Mat Classic XXXII: Nine Teams Combined Send 20 Wrestlers to Climb the Podium
By Jordan Nailon
TACOMA — Lucas Ashley became the first two-time state champion in Adna history and Rainier’s Brody Klein capped off a stellar season with his first state title here on Saturday at Mat Classic XXXII.
Ashley’s tournament win in the 182-pound 1B/2B bracket comes one year after he topped the podium at 152-pounds. Facing Caden Noha of Colfax in the championship, Ashley led 4-0 after two periods and then held tight for a 6-5 victory.
“It’s the best feeling ever,” Ashley said as he tried to catch his breath.
With two state titles at two different weight classes Ashley was able to contrast the difference that 30 pounds makes, noting that this year’s title seemed a little more difficult to secure.
“Probably this one. That kid was a lot stronger,” explained Ashley. “You’re always a little nervous but I felt like I was in a good position. I was comfortable defending.”
Earlier in the day Ashley, a senior, defeated Sergio Galicia (LROS) in the semifinals with a first-period pin. On Friday, Ashley emerged from his quarterfinal bout with a pin over Sam Schneider of Davenport in the second period.
Adna coach Craig Ferrier was thrilled to see his stalwart senior achieve his lofty goal.
“Lucas is just a lot of fun. He’s a goofy kid and he’s not afraid to make fun of himself. You’ve got a kid who went from state champ at 152 and he assesses at 186 so there’s a little bit of room for joking about how much weight he gained,” Ferrier joked.
That weight difference could have slowed Ashley down, or left him at a strength disadvantage. But it didn’t. Not at all.
“He’s so strong and he’s got the experience. I mean he’s been doing this since he was four or five years old so his body knows what to do,” Ferrier explained.
Ashley was quick to spread the credit for his success around like sanitizer on a dirty mat.
“Everyone at Adna who helped me and supported me, especially my mom and my dad and my coaches,” said Ashley. “Ashton (Dowell), and Matthew (Slape), and Braxton (Dowell) and Aaron (Slape), just that entire 2018 class and ‘19. They just all pushed me and helped to make a huge difference.”
Ferrier agreed that the impact of those old Pirates could be felt during crunch time on Saturday.
“When you are in a room with three guys who were in the state finals and seven kids to state, I mean those kids like Matthew and Ashton just pushed him every single day,” Ferrier said.
Rainier’s Klein found his way to the penultimate position on the podium with a 10-6 win over Abram Foreman of Kalama in the 160-pound finals. It was not the first time the league foes have clashed this season in their matching orange and black singlets and Klein managed to even up the outcomes on the biggest stage.
“It feels great. It’s not my win. I give it all to (God). He allowed me to do all of it and I’m just showing what he gave me,” Klein said.
Even with a large point advantage while time wound down Klein was able to keep his emotions in check, neither taking victory for granted nor letting doubt creep into his mind.
“I figured since it was the last match I was ever going to wrestle I might as well just have fun so the nerves just went out the window. I figured win or lose I was going to have fun doing it,” Klein noted. “He’s such a good wrestler, that you never really have it wrapped up. You’ve just got to wrestle a little smarter when you’re up by that many and it worked out in my favor.”
The freshly crowned champion from Rainier wound up in the title tilt after besting Lucas Reuwsaat of Darrington in the semifinals. On Friday Klein dropped Seth Baugher of Oroville with a pin in the second period.
“It doesn’t matter what sport he’s in, Brody works super hard. He gets up in the morning and works out. He works out hard at practice. He’s one of those kids who it doesn’t matter what he’s doing he’s all out. It’s pretty fun to sit in a chair and watch a guy like that,” said Rainier coach Chris Holterman. “A lot of people deserve (a state title) but you’ve got to go out and earn it. Nobody is going to give it to you. That’s the fourth time those guys have wrestled and they’re now 2-2. The only losses Brody has had are to that kid so he’s a quality opponent.”
Four wrestlers were able to bounce back from untimely losses in order to earn third-place finishes.
Xylia Warner of W.F. West won her bronze medal match in the Girls 140-pound bracket by notching a pin over Lindy Smith (WILS). Earlier in the day, Warner fell in her semifinal match against the eventual state champion, Kenzie Cormier of North Kitsap. Warner wound up in the third-place match by registering a first-period pin in her consolation match.
Fellow Bearcat Isaac Reavis also managed to place third coming out of the 2A 195-pound bracket. Reavis fell in the semifinals before bouncing back with a 4-1 win over Tyler Woods of Tumwater in consolation action. The senior capped his career off with a gutsy 4-3 win over Kevin Pelayo of Ephrata that included a last second flying squirrel tackle to keep his opponent out of position.
“I knew that I had to go. I had to go. It was physical the whole time, there was some headbutting in there but the kid’s solid, he’s super strong,” said Reavis. “As soon as I took him down I knew he was coming right back up so it was a little bit of a scramble but I knew I had five seconds left so I couldn’t give up that reversal.”
All things considered, Reavis’ biggest accomplishment on the day may have been the way he answered back after a tough loss in the semifinals.
“It was pretty hard trying to bounce back from chasing a state title. It took me about 45 minutes of thinking with my coaches and they told me I’ve got to bounce back and my teammates lifted me up to kind of change my perspective,” noted Reavis.
W.F. West coach Jamie Rakevich agreed with that assessment.
“Coming back after losing that semifinal match is one of the hardest things to do in high school sports,” Rakevich said as he wiped Tacoma Dome dust out of his eyes following Reavis’ thrilling third place victory. “Him coming back and winning that match after losing that heartbreaker of a semifinal match is just huge growth for him from freshman dork, to you know, senior dork.
There were two area wrestlers who finished third in the 1B/2B ranks but neither of them followed the traditional route of rebounding after a failed semifinal attempt.
Kolby Mozingo of Onalaska fell into the consolation bracket after a loss in his quarterfinal affair and then won four straight matches, including three pins and a major decision, to claim third place at 138 pounds. In his final match of the weekend, Mozingo pinned Carlos Norris of Dayton.
Michael Echtle of Toledo also dropped his quarterfinal match on Friday to wind up on the dark side of the bracket. The 220-pound senior then notched a 4-1 win, a 13-1 major decision and a 5-3 decision to reach the bronze medal match where he bested Marcos Velasquez of Mabton 5-4.
In 2A action W.F. West managed to tie for fifth place as a team. The Bearcats brought 11 wrestlers to Tacoma for Mat Classic XXXII and accumulated 69 team points. Daniel Matagi, a freshman, finished fourth at 220 pounds and caught the attention of anyone who was watching.
“He definitely has some potential that I don’t think a lot of people can see,” said Reavis, who sparred with Matagi throughout the year. “He can do great things. Placing fourth as a freshman at 220 when there’s big men there and he’s not even fully developed, I’m excited to see what he can do.”
Bo Davis helped the Bearcats’ point tally with a fifth-place finish in the 120-pound bracket and Evan “Meaty” Moon pulled off an upset over Rochester’s Jayden Lancaster in their Saturday morning consolation tilt in order position himself for a sixth place finish at 152 pounds.
With another season in the books both Rakevich and Reavis were saddened to say goodbye to the dome they call home for two days a year.
“This senior class when they came in and we went to wrestling camp we came back and thought, ‘Oh God, this might be the worst group we’ve ever seen!’ But they worked their butts off. It took four years but even the guys that didn’t place they made themselves into wrestlers,” said Rakevich.
With the team photo snapped and his teammates still milling around after his third place match Reavis added, “Every year it’s a different feeling with each team but by far this was one of the closest teams we’ve had.”
After his overtime loss Lancaster, a senior for Rochester, was able to find his druthers in time to capture seventh place with a 6-4 win over Cyle Workman of Ridgefield. Meanwhile, Rochester’s Riley Cohron fought all the way through the consolation bracket to claim sixth place at 145 pounds after dropping his first match of the tournament. Cohron notched points wins of 7-5, 10-8, and 8-0 in order to reach the medal rounds.
Centralia was able to put a trio of wrestlers on the podium thanks to the efforts of Eddie Matias, Caleb Hylton, and Juan Gaspar. Matias finished in sixth place after dropping his 126-pound quarterfinal match. Matias pinned Zachary Smith of Eatonville on Saturday morning to fight his way into medal contention. Hylton also came up short in the quarterfinals but wound up seventh at 170 pounds with a 9-7 decision over Mykenzi Realme (QUIN). Juan Gaspar finished in eighth place at 113 pounds.
The lone 1A participant found his way to the podium despite a few missteps on Saturday. Robert Marti woke up on Saturday with dreams of a state title but lost his 220-pound semifinal match 7-6 when he was unable to flip Richard Rivas-Gutierrez as time ran out. Marti then fell 4-1 to Levi Harlan (NOOK) before bouncing back with a second period pin over Cristobal Alejandre of Zillah to claim 5th place.
Jamiah Christin of Tenino was the only other girl to survive into Saturday from area schools. She entered the Tacoma Dome as a semifinalist but dropped three straight matches to finish sixth at 115 pounds.
Back in the 1B/2B world there were four other grapplers who got their hands on Mat Classic medals.
Toledo put a pair of wrestlers on the podium with Trey Rego and Hunter Smith both finishing in sixth place. Jayson Ducey of Rainier finished in sixth place at 106 pounds and Winlock’s Dusty Thayer finished sixth at 126 pounds.