In this edition of “Weighing In,” we’ll look at Edmonds-Woodway top wrestler, junior Noah Cuzzetto and his bid to become the school’s second two-time state champion.
The Warriors’ little man is producing big results. Also, we’ll take a look at Marquee matches upcoming, Top targets, Big performances and links to state rankings individually and team.
Noah Cuzzetto would do just about anything to make history in the Edmonds-Woodway wrestling program.
Cuzzetto put in the time, now he’s hoping for the payoff.
With a summer of hard work at camps under his belt, Cuzzetto is 16-1 at 120 pounds and driving for another state title down the line at 113 eventually.
The Warriors’ junior leader won a state crown at 106 in Class 3A last season, and by adding another title, Cuzzetto would join elite company in Edmonds-Woodway wrestling.
“Having the title makes me want to work harder, so I don’t let other people down or myself down,” said Cuzzetto. “I put a lot of work in and went to a lot of camps. I stayed after practice. It felt really nice to have my hard work pay off.
“Coach [Brian] Alfi told me about the guy who won two titles at our school.”
Another first-place finish would allow him to join Warrior Mike Rankin as the only two-time state champions in school history. Rankin won the 190-pound class in 1984 and followed that up with a unlimited crown in 1985.
“Coach keeps telling me, ‘You’re not the best yet,’ and it’s definitely motivated me,” Cuzzetto said. “I want to be like the top dog and I want to make my name in history at this school. I want to be up on the wall multiple times.
“It definitely drives me to win that next one and maybe win one my senior year.”
Cuzzetto went 28-17 as a freshman, giving up plenty of weight wrestling at 95 pounds in the 102-pound class. Then, he went 32-3 as a sophomore in winning state at 106.
“The kids he lost to as a freshman were very top-end kids, and he was a little under-sized,” said Alfi, 26, the Warriors’ second-year coach. “It made him realize he had to put in the hard work to get better. I think he was humbled as a freshman, and it really re-focused him. Now that he’s bigger, he’s a monster in his weight class.”
Cuzzetto is ranked No. 1 in the 120-pound class for all classifications by www.washingtonwrestlingreport.net. He’s off to a 16-1 start in 2012-13, despite missing one tournament in late December with the flu.
His older brother, Matt, a senior, wrestles at 160 for the Warriors and there isn’t a moment where the two don’t push each other competitively.
“No matter what we are doing, we are always competing,” said Noah Cuzzetto, 16, and 14 months younger than Matt. “If it’s running a sprint, we’re always next to each other trying to beat each other. If we’re picking up trash, we have to pick up more than the other guy.”
Cuzzetto won the 120-pound at Mercer Island High School on Saturday in the fifth annual Jack Reynolds Tournament of Excellence.
Jack Reynolds Tournament of Excellence
Four state champions and a tournament-best 16 teams, featuring 56 state qualifiers from 2012 Mat Classic, filled the gymnasium at Mercer Island High School on Saturday for the fifth annual Jack Reynolds Tournament of Excellence.
The tournament is the highlight event for raising money for the Jack Reynold Scholarship Fund.
Reynolds, who spent 36 years as an educator, taught and coached in the Issquah School District. Reynolds passed away at age 61 on June 28, 2008 after battling melanoma cancer. A total of 15 scholarships and $50,000 raised over the last five years.
Granger captured top team honors with Yelm, Timberline, Mercer Island and Peninsula finishing second through fifth, respectively.
Stone Hart of Timberline won the 220-pound class. Hart is the defending state champion at 220 in Class 3A.
Woodinville’s Christensen wins showdown matchup at Marysville Premier
Junior Ryan Christensen of Woodinville downed Glacier Peak senior Sean Elledge in a state-caliber match with a 12-2 major decision in the 182-pound finals of the Marysville Premier Tournament on Saturday.
The two wrestlers entered the competition as the top-ranked 182-pounders in the state from all classifications by www.washingtonwrestlingreport.net. Christensen was No. 1 and Elledge No. 2.
Christensen took second place at 4A state at 160 last season and Elledge was a state champion at 182 in 3A at the 2012 Mat Classic in the Tacoma Dome.
The Falcons’ star is 25-1 overall with his lone loss coming in the Pac Coast tournament to a defending Oregon state champion. Christensen has 18 pins, three technical falls and three major decisions for dominant victories in 24 of his 25 wins.
He has won three tournament titles, including two Outstanding Wrestler awards, so far this season.
With three individual champions crowned, Snohomish took top team honors in the event and scored 189.5 points. Moses Lakes was second at 179.5, Kentwood third at 177, Stanwood fourth at 144 and Glacier Peak fifth at 134.
The team-champion Panthers got titles from Greg Eagle (138), Tristan Baus (195) and Mario Rojas (220).
Kentwood put five wrestlers in the finals and got three individual crowns from Conor Berlin (113), Dalton Meyers (132) and Jamiel Jackson (152).
Marquee matches upcoming
… Enumclaw, ranked No. 2 in Class 3A, travels to Decatur, ranked No. 4 in 3A, for pivotal South Puget Sound League (SPSL) 3A dual meet on Thursday, Jan. 17. The winner likely claims the league crown.
… Tahoma, the defending Class 4A state champion and ranked No. 1 to open the season, travels to Enumclaw for the 11th “Battle of the Bone” on Saturday, Jan. 26.
… The Washington Dream Duals is on Saturday, Jan. 19 at East Valley High School in Spokane. Mead of Spokane, one of the top Class 4A programs in the state, will be present along with top 3A schools University of Spokane and Enumclaw, ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, by www.washingtonwrestlingreport.net.
Also participating in the Dream Duals are Orting and Colville, ranked No. 1 and No. 4, respectively, in 2A. No. 6 East Valley of Spokane will take part.
The top three teams in the 1A ranking will participate, led by No. 1 Granger. No. 2 Zillah and No. 3 Castle Rock will test their mettle.
Top targets & Big performances
… Everett’s Jessie Lopez (138) ran his unbeaten record to 25-0 through last weekend’s action.
… Kentlake’s Nicholas Smith (106) improved to 23-0 over the weekend.
… Southridge’s Kevin Del Angel (195) suffered his first loss of the season on Jan. 4 – to University’s Tanner Orndorff by pin in 58 seconds at the Pacific Northwest Classic at University – and is now 25-1 overall.
… Port Angeles, behind three individual titlists, won the Island Invitational at Bainbridge High School on Saturday. The Roughriders scored a winning total of 226.5 points to Forks’ 187, Klahowya’s 155 and Bainbridge’s 136.
Class 4A & 3A, 2A, 1A, B & girls
All-Class individual rankings
Here are three valuable wrestling resources on the web:
Searchable database for results
Team and individual rankings
When there’s top performance or noteworthy event in high-school wrestling, please feel to send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and to the attention of Matt Massey.