In this edition of “Weighing In,” we’ll look at longtime Enumclaw head coach Lee Reichert and his ability to connect with his wrestlers and the recent “Battle of the Bone.”
Also, we’ll take a look at Marquee matches upcoming (subregionals this weekend and regionals Feb. 9), Top targets, Big performances and links to state rankings individually and team.
For Lee Reichert, it’s pure and simple. He cares deeply.
The Enumclaw High School head wrestling coach is the genuine article and he’s all about building relationships for success. If he hasn’t left a good impression on wrestlers that come through his program, then it’s as if he hasn’t done his job.
Reichert, 60, gave a moving speech for his departing seniors on Senior Night at Saturday’s “Battle of the Bone” against nonleague rival Tahoma. His intentions are clear.
Once his wrestlers have gone their own way, Reichert pondered what both coach and wrestler might think when passing while driving Enumclaw roads in the future.
“When we pass each other driving, to me it’s about, ‘How will you remember me? And, how will I remember you?'” Reichert said facing his 10 seniors prior to Saturday’s Senior Night match against Tahoma. “To me, it’s about being friends for life. I would do anything for you guys, and I would hope the same from you.”
This is Reichert’s 37th season of coaching high-school wrestlers and his 18th at Enumclaw. He shapes boys into young men both on and off the wrestling mat with a healthy dose directness and welfare.
Reichert says he sees former wrestlers on the roads in town frequently and his mind jogs.
“It happens all the time,” he said. “When I go through town coming to practice, going the store or the local whatever, and I pass one of them, we look at each other and we know exactly what each other’s thinking.
“That’s bigger than the sport. You have these feelings that are truly strong for each other, and you care about one another. These kinds of things are unbelievable and you never forget them.”
Add to the emotion of Reichert’s pre-match speech and the level of competition and it made for a can’t-miss atmosphere.
“This kind of match is what we come to do,” Reichert said of the “Battle of the Bone”. “It was just great wrestling.”
Reichert’s philosophy about wrestling and those kids who are interested is clear. The kids are No. 1 in a testing sport that builds character.
“I any sport I’ve ever coached, I’ve never cut kids,” he said in a 2011 KING-5 TV interview. “I just don’t believe in it. We’re here to help kids and help them become better people, and we can’t do that by sending them home. Wrestling takes a lot of hard, and it’s one of those sports you can’t cheat.”
Said Enumclaw Athletic Director Kevin Smith that 2011 KING-5 feature: “He treats in his class and every kid on his wrestling team like they’re the starting varsity athlete.”
Like each class of Hornet wrestlers, Reichert relished his time with the departing seniors and it showed on Saturday.
“When you put your heart and soul into the kids and they put it into you, it’s tough to let them go,” he said. “They become like your own sons.
“I get emotional thinking about it right now. This is the last time we’ll be here together. Some I’ve been around for four years and some longer. I see some of them as little guys coming through.”
Battle of the Bone won by Enumclaw on Saturday (Below is full-length story)
Wyley Stewart won’t soon forget this moment in his Enumclaw High School wrestling career.
Biggest match of the year. Biggest stage. Pivotal moment. Controversial finish. Home crowd.
Stewart, a senior who agreed move up to 220 pounds, came through with a 7-5 win over Cooper Thomas to give Enumclaw a dramatic 32-28 victory over Tahoma in the 11th “Battle of the Bone” on Saturday night at Enumclaw High School.
The match at 220 came down to the final buzzer as Stewart held off a late flurry from Thomas in the second-to-last match of the night with Enumclaw leading 29-22. Officials initially ruled that Thomas scored a tying takedown before time expired, then huddled, and reversed the decision. That clinched the match and gave the Hornets an insurmountable 32-22 lead.
“I mean that’s all for the team,” said Stewart, a senior. “The Battle of the Bone is one of the biggest rivalries in Washington state with two returning state-champion teams battling each other with such great programs.
“It is just crazy.”
It proved a fitting finish on Senior Night for the Hornets, who also have won 50 consecutive league victories. Emotion was high after longtime Enumclaw coach Lee Reichert addressed and introduced his seniors while choking back emotion.
“He’s probably the most respectable man, second to my father, and probably the most influential man I’ve ever met,” Stewart said. “He’s so motivational and he loves every single one of us just as much as the other.
“Even if he gets hard on you, it’s out of his heart and you know you can do better.”
The drama dripped until the second-to-last match, which featured the defending 4A state champion Bears and two-time defending 3A state champion Enumclaw.
Tahoma is ranked No. 2 in Class 4A and No. 3 in the all-classification rankings by www.washingtonwrestlingreport.net, and the Hornets are ranked No. 2 in Class 3A and No. 18 in the all-class rankings.
Stewart, who led just 6-5 with about 30 seconds left, didn’t feel like Thomas’ takedown came until time had run out.
“I glanced up one last time right before [Thomas] shot and I saw a number one on the clock,” he said. “He was making his way in. Out of truthfulness, I don’t think he had the takedown. It was just so loud in here, I don’t think the refs could hear the buzzer go off.”
In what most considered the showdown of the night between state placers, Tahoma’s Cruz Velasquez dropped down to 126 to score a 5-3 decision over Enumclaw’s Tyke Reid.
Velasquez, who took fourth at 120 in 4A last season, used a takedown with 49 seconds left in the second round to break a 3-3 tie. Velasquez tied the match at 3-3 with an escape with 1:22 to go in the second.
Reid took second at 120 in 3A last season.
At 138, senior Jayden Fend pinned Tahoma’s Michael Velasquez in 51 seconds to tie the match at 12-12 after six matches.
Enumclaw’s Lucas Somera, despite dislocating his left kneecap two weeks ago, dominated Brandon Schieber 18-3 for a technical fall just before the final buzzer at 145. That put the Hornets in front 17-12.
The Hornets got a big pin from Ryan Anderson at 160, taking down Tahoma’s Chris McElroy in 4:54 and that lifted Enumclaw to a 26-12 cushion.
Matt Hopkins, fourth in state at 195 in 4A last season, secured a pin in 58 seconds over Sefo Gill at 195 to pull the Bears with 29-22 with two matches left.
Ed Torres scored a pin in 56 seconds at 285 over the Hornets’ Jared Semon for six team points and to trim the final margin to four.
“That was about as good as it gets,” said Reichert, who flipped Stewart from 195 to 220 and Sefo Gill from 220 to 195. “We made the [lineup] move and it paid off for us. The bottom line was the refs are watching the match and the scorekeepers are scoring the clock. That’s why we have them.
“If we’re not going to use them, then why do we have them? Let the refs keep a stopwatch then.”
Tahoma won last year’s meeting 45-18.
When Reichert passes Wyley Stewart on the roads of Enumclaw in the future, he’s going to be thinking about this night.
“I’ll be thinking, ‘What a competitor and what a great kid,'” he said.
Tahoma gains something even in defeat from ‘Battle of the Bone’
Tahoma coach Chris Feist always welcomes a match against tradition-rich Enumclaw in the “Battle of Bone,” because he knows his team will be tested.
“It was a good dual,” he said. “It was fun. Both teams wrestled hard. We had some calls go our way and some go their way. Ultimately, we had two teams come in battle-tough and the got us this time and we’ll be looking forward to next year.”
It was another good test for the Bears, who hope to make a run at the 4A state title again.
“We try to schedule as many tough duals as we can against really good teams throughout the year, because it can only make us better for the postseason,” Feist said. “That’s the idea here. We want to go out, battle tough kids in high-pressure situations and learn from it, go forward and make a run at the postseason.”
Mercer Island wins fourth regular-season KingCo 3A/2A title in a row
The Mercer Island wrestling team beat Bellevue 49-21 on Thursday, Jan. 24 to clinch its fourth consecutive KingCo 3A/2A regular-season dual-meet title.
The Islanders finished 7-0 and beat runner-up Mount Si (6-1) 42-28 in the Islander gym on Jan. 17 on the way to another crown.
“A big part of our success this year in KingCo is because of our conditioning,” said MI junior captain Jake Pruchno, who is 26-8 at 126. “In a close league match against Mount Si, we were able to win close matches because we were able to outlast our opponents. Our good conditioning will hopefully help us win the KingCo tournament [subregional].”
In the win over Mount Si, MI survived eight team-point lead changes. That win propelled the Islanders to a fifth KingCo regular-season title in six years. In 2009, MI actually finished in a three-way tie for the top, but lost a tiebreaker for the top spot.
“We have a solid group of seniors that have been together for four years,” said MI senior captain Daniel Stanke, who is 12-3 at 182. “Whether winning varsity matches or just making the varsity better in practice, this solid core of seniors have put in the work necessary for a four-peat.”
Added MI sophomore Jack Vassau: “We have been able to be successful in recent years because of the hard work and dedication we put into our practices. League titles and championships are not won on the day of the match, but during the hours we put in trying to get stronger and becoming better wrestlers.”
Roosevelt triumphant on ‘Beauty & The Best’ night
The Roosevelt wrestling team secured a 38-33 KingCo 4A decision over Woodinville on Friday night to hike its dual-meet record to 7-3 as part of the first “Beauty and The Beast” night where wrestling and gymnastics were put on simultaneously side-by-side in the Roughriders’ gymnasium.
Jacob Sands won his match at 126 to improve to 20-4 this season. Sands scored a 10-1 major decision over Cole Morrison.
Federal Way makes strong showing at Jackson’s Lady Wolfpack Tournament
The Federal Way girls wrestling team placed two wrestlers in the finals to finish third with 114 points at Saturday’s Lady Wolfpack Tournament at Jackson High School.
The Eagles got one title from Luaipou Lologo (155) and a second-place from Bianca Arizpe (118). Lologo won her title with a pin in 52 seconds over Mariner’s Jennifer Pohle.
Mount Baker won the team title with 204 points and Sedro-Woolley was second with 121.5.
Marquee matches: Subregionals & regionals
… Not far off in the future, a run of subregional wrestling events commence on Friday, Feb. 1 and then regionals on Saturday, Feb. 9.
Here’s this weekend’s times and sites for subregionals and Feb. 9 regionals:
… The Class 4A subregional tournament for WesCo 4A North and South Divisions (District 1) takes place at Snohomish High School on Feb. 1-2. The tournament begins on Friday at 4 p.m. and re-convenes on Saturday at 10 a.m. The top five finishers in each weight class qualify for regionals.
The 4A regional combines WesCo 4A and 4A Narrows League teams on Feb. 9 at Snohomish High School, starting at 10 a.m.
… The Class 4A subregional for the South Puget Sound League (SPSL) North Division is Feb. 1-2 at Kent-Meridian High School. Start times are 4 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. on Saturday.
The 4A subregional for the SPSL South is also Feb. 1-2 at Curtis High School. Start times are the same as SPSL North.
The 4A regional includes teams from both the SPSL North and South on Feb. 9 at Auburn High School, beginning at 10 a.m.
… The KingCo 4A subregional tournament (District 2) convenes on Feb. 1-2 at Skyline High School. Action on Friday begins at 3:30 p.m. and on Saturday at 9:30 a.m.
The 4A regional combines KingCo 4A and Greater St. Helen’s League (GSHL) 4A on Feb. 9 at Heritage High School in Vancouver, Wash. The top five KingCo and top three GSHL wrestlers advance to Mat Classic in the Tacoma Dome Feb. 15-16.
… The 3A subregional for schools from WesCo 3A North is scheduled for Feb. 1-2 at Stanwood High School. The 3A subregional for schools from WesCo 3A South will take place Feb. 1-2 at Glacier Peak High School.
The 3A regional combines WesCo 3A, 3A Northwest (Ferndale) and 3A Metro League schools on Feb. 9 at Marysville-Pilchuck High School at 10 a.m. The top four wrestlers in each weight class advance to Mat Classic.
… The 3A subregional for KingCo 3A and Seamount schools is slated for Feb. 1-2 at Interlake High School. Start time for Friday is 4:30 p.m. and Saturday is 10 a.m. The top four wrestlers in each weight class will advance to regionals on Feb. 9.
The 3A regional for KingCo 3A, Seamount and Greater St. Helen’s League (GSHL) takes place on Feb. 9 at Kelso High School. The top four there move on to Mat Classic.
… The 3A subregional for South Puget Sound League (SPSL) 3A is scheduled for Feb. 1-2 at Auburn Mountainview High School. The action begins at 4 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. on Saturday.
The 3A regional for SPSL 3A and 3A Narrows League will be Feb. 9 at Bonney Lake High School. The tournament begins at 10 a.m.
… The 3A subregional for 3A Metro League is Feb. 1-2 at Nathan Hale High School. Action starts at 3 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. on Saturday.
Links to regional information below:
Top targets & Big performances
… According to www.nwcaonline.com, there are five wrestlers with perfect records currently in the state of Washington.
Leading the way is Kentlake sophomore Nicholas Smith (106) with a 28-0 record. Next in line is Everett senior Jessie Lopez (138) with a 27-0 mark.
Also unbeaten are Lake Stevens senior Brandon Johnson (285, 25-0), Kiona-Benton junior Cruz Del Angel (182, 24-0) and Mead junior Chandler Rogers (170, 23-0).
There likely are other unbeatens whose record has gone unreported.
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.