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High School Sports Blog

The latest news and analysis on high-school sports around the Seattle area

February 18, 2008 at 9:06 AM

A Mat Classic full of cheers and tears

If you weren’t at the Tacoma Dome over the weekend for Mat Classic XX, the state wrestling championships, you missed quite an emotional rollercoaster.

Sometimes, big boys do cry. And little ones, too.

Josh Monson of Lake Stevens couldn’t hold back his tears after winning the 4A title at 135 pounds. Wrestling with a knee injury all season, he saw his hard work and dedication pay off with a win over previously unbeaten Stefan St. Marie of Snohomish — a guy who had beaten him the previous two weekends.

Lake Stevens coach Brent Barnes is firey guy, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a bigger fist pump and smile from him than those that came with Monson’s victory, and not just because it gave the Vikings a better chance to win the team title.

It was such an emotion-packed two days. So much elation. So much deflation. You can’t help but smile for the winner and wince for the loser. Sometimes, even the champions seem to feel a bit badly for the guy they just beat, offering a hug along with the required handshake. Many of these opponents are friends off the mat and sometimes club teammates. All put in a ton of hard work and sacrifice so much.

Occasionally, you see some sore losers. But I was impressed with the class many of the wrestlers demonstrated after suffering emotional defeats. Imagine what it’s like to win a state title one year, then lose the next. That’s what Kevin Tao of Tahoma, Brandon Rodgers of Kentwood and Zach Zweifel of Lake Stevens did Saturday, among others. But all three handled the disappointment with grace and all seemed to agree with one comment: “That’s wrestling.”

The quality of the girls wrestling tournament continued to impress. One of the most exciting matches of the whole weekend was the girls 125-pound title, where Danielle Curtis of Yelm edged Kelsey Klein of Hoquiam in four overtimes! Talk about exhausting — that one wore you out just watching.

So, where were you over the weekend? Wrestling? Gymnastics? Swimming? Basketball? What performances were you impressed with? There were so many champions to write about, but we don’t have the opportunity to give all their due. Here’s a hats off to all of them.

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