In this edition of “Weighing In,” we’ll look at an Eastside Catholic wrestler’s bid to become the school’s first two-time state champion. Also, we’ll take a look at Marquee matches upcoming, Top targets, Big performances and links to state rankings individually and team.
One down: Iwicki looking to give Eastside Catholic a three-time state champion
Eastside Catholic junior Matthew Iwicki understands he was able to fly under the radar until he became a state champion in Class 3A at 120 pounds last season.
Now, he’s got the aim of the entire state with the elite status in tow. He’s a known commodity after reaching the top of the awards stand.
Iwicki knows he better be even more prepared as he steps up in weight class, aiming for 132 pounds in the postseason after wrestling both 132 and 138 so far this season.
“I’m definitely more on everyone’s radar and not an unknown like last year,” said Iwicki, who is off to a 19-2 start with his only losses coming to out-of-state foes at the vaunted Tri-State in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, on Dec. 21. “I was third the previous year, but I don’t think anyone really knew me still. This year will be a lot different.
“I’ll see different people being at a different weight class. I might not know some of my competition moving up in [weight] class.”
Iwicki took third as a freshman at 113 pounds before winning 120 at Mat Classic XXV in 2013. He’s looking for more of the same success, but he’ll have a familiar foe or two at 132 pounds, if that’s where he ends up in the postseason.
“I have been wrestling at 138 mostly, because it’s a bit easier to manage that weight, and hopefully I be at 132 by the end of the season,” Iwicki said. “I guess we’ll see where I turn up at. It seems to be pretty good progress getting down to 132.
“It seems to be the right weight class for me. Once I wrestled at 138 at Tri-State, it just seemed like I was a bit small for the weight class when I was there. It’s best for me to be as low as I can go.”
Iwicki, who lives in Sammamish, is ranked No. 1 in Class 3A at 132 pounds currently by www.washingtonwrestlingreport.net, just ahead of Bonney Lake’s Colton Tracy at No. 2 and Kelso’s Tyler Wicken at No. 3. Tracy was third at 126 in 2013 and Wicken took state runner-up honors at 132 in 2013.
But that status is on paper, not on the mat.
“There will be some tough competition at that weight class, but nothing I won’t be able to handle,” Iwicki said.
There’s lots of depth at 132 and will there will not be many easy matches for whoever takes the state title.
Tracy denied Iwicki the chance to compete in the state championship match at 113 in 2012, beating the Crusaders’ star 3-1 in the semifinals.
“There are definitely tough wrestlers in that weight class [at 132)],” Iwicki, who is 101-6 in his EC career. “It’s more of a respect thing, than a fear thing. I haven’t wrestled Wicken in a while, but I know he’s tough. I’m more excited to wrestle [Tracy], because he beat me my freshman year in the [state] semifinals and knocked me out of the championship bracket when he went into the finals.
“I’m more eager to wrestle him, and I think it would be a great match.”
Iwicki said he beat Wicken “five or six years ago in Greco-Roman, but that was a long time ago.” Iwicki is 0-1 lifetime against Tracy with the stinging semifinal loss as a freshman as the only meeting.
Of his 3-1 loss to Tracy in the 113 semifinals two seasons ago, Iwicki said: “That kind of made me realize I needed to more offensive and more going at it.”
That’s been Iwicki’s goal: Be more offensive-minded in 2013-14.
“I’ve worked more on my speed,” he said. “I’ve been more complacent and more of a defensive wrestler, using more strength and defense to overcome my opponents. I’ve been trying to work on speed and offense more recently.”
After taking down the 120-pound state crown, Iwicki amended his goals and upped the ante.
“It’s more definite that I want to be a three-timer [state champion],” he said. “After freshman year, I still wanted to win as many state championships as possible. It’s more achievable and more expected now.”
Iwicki is one of the finest wrestlers Eastside Catholic coach Dennis Reddinger has worked with.
“He’s very talented,” Reddinger said. “He’s the first wrestler who has been ranked there and accomplished [winning a state title]. He puts a lot of hard work into it.”
Iwicki missed about six weeks last spring with a strained hip flexor at a wrestling tournament for his club wrestling team.
“That was kind of a long, droning thing,” he said. “I was really not doing much exercising during that time. It was nice to have a break, but it was kind of poor timing with nationals coming up.”
Iwicki is the Crusaders’ first state champion since Eric Wattam won the 122-pound crown in 1986.
Iwicki wants to make history and become the school’s first two-time and three-time champion.
That’s the revised goal after winning his first last season.
Marquee matches upcoming
… Mercer Island hosts the sixth annual Jack Reynolds Memorial Tournament of Excellence on Saturday, starting at 10 a.m.
Lined up to compete in the past were star-studded fields with many state-caliber participants.
The tournament is the highlight event for raising money for the Jack Reynolds Scholarship Fund. Reynolds, who spent 36 years as an educator, taught and coached in the Issaquah 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.
Reynolds was a longtime teacher in the Issaquah School District and was a wrestling and softball official at both the state and national level. He was a coach in wrestling, football, track and volleyball, and in 2008 he was inducted to the National Wrestling Hall of Fame for his dedication to the sport.
… The Central Kitsap Matman Tournament is this Saturday and features some of the top teams in the state. The event starts at 9 a.m.
Battling for team honors likely will be Lake Stevens (ranked No. 1 in Class 4A), Enumclaw (No. 7 in 3A), Tahoma (No. 8 in 4A) and Moses Lake (No. 2 in 4A).
… Steilacoom High School host the Sentinel Duals on Saturday, beginning at 9 a.m. Marysville Getchell will compete, along with Puyallup.
… In SPSL 3A, both Enumclaw and Decatur are tied atop the South Puget Sound League (SPSL) 3A standing at 3-0 apiece. The two teams face off on Wednesday, Jan. 22 at Enumclaw at 6 p.m.
Enumclaw travels to Tahoma on Thursday, Jan. 30 at 7 p.m. for the two school’s 12th annual “Battle of the Bone.”
… Marysville Getchell had 26 placers en route to a team title on Saturday in the 2014 Arlington Rumble.
The Class 3A Chargers put up a winning total of 312 points, ahead of 4A power Lake Stevens’ second-place total of 245.5 points and Arlington’s 223.
Marysville Getchell went 38-35 in matches with 29 pins and got individual crowns from Daniel Knowlton and Brett Engelman.
… North Mason secured top honors in the 32nd Bainbridge Island Invitational on Saturday, riding four individual champions to the team crown.
The Bulldogs posted a winning total of 175 points. Klahowya was second with 166 points and Mountlake Terrace third with 156.
Mercer Island was fifth with 125 points and host Bainbridge sixth with 115. The host Spartans got two titles from Jack Miller (138) and Dylan Read (152).
… Snohomish turned in a dominant performance on Saturday at its own 2014 Panther Classic as wrestlers secured three of the last four weight classes.
Panthers winning titles were Garrett Stich (182), Justin Kearney (195) and Tristan Baus (220). The Panthers won with a total of 211 points to runner-up Decatur’s total of 177.
Isaiah Diggs (138) was named outstanding wrestler for weight classes 106 to 145 and Baus collected outstanding wrestler honors for weights 152-285.
… Puyallup won the 2014 Bonney Lake 2nd Man tournament on Saturday with a runaway total of 274.5 points. Clover Park took second with 169 and Issaquah was third with 137.
Host Bonney Lake was fifth with 107 points.
… Yelm was fourth at the 2014 Washington State Wrestling Foundation (WSWF) Gut Check tournament on Saturday at Olympia High School.
Yelm posted 96.5 points, behind the wining total of 142.5 by Moses Lake.
… Granite Falls scored a narrow victory over Shorewood 175.5 points to 174 to claim the team title in the 2014 Shoreline Invitational tournament on Saturday at Shorecrest High School.
Shorewood senior Matthew Floresca, the Class 3A state runner-up at 126 pounds in 2013, captured the 132-pound weight class with three consecutive pins. Floresca pinned all three foes in a combined time of 5 minutes, 40 seconds, including a stick in 3:23 in the final over Tyler Groff of Granite Falls.
… Kentridge (2-0) handled Kentwood (2-2) 52-20 on Wednesday in a key South Puget Sound League (SPSL) North Division dual, moving just behind Auburn (3-0) and into a tie with Tahoma (2-0) in the North standings.
… Top-ranked Lake Stevens handed ninth-ranked Arlington a 45-27 defeat in the Eagles’ home gymnasium on Friday in a WesCo 4A North Division dual meet opener.
Preseason team & individual rankings
All Classifications page
Preseason All-Class individual rankings
High school page for Washington Wrestling Report
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.