In this edition of “Weighing In,” we’ll look at Lake Stevens’ tough scheduling and its bid for another 4A state title. Also, we’ll take a look at Marquee matches upcoming, Top targets, Big performances and links to state rankings individually and team.
Lake Stevens priming for another state-title run
Brent Barnes always puts together a heavy-duty schedule for his Lake Stevens High School wrestling team.
From the start of each winter, Barnes tests his guys to the limit with tough non-conference dual meets and loaded brackets of high-caliber tournaments.
Barnes wants his Vikings to be tested and tough when the season matters the most at the state tournament – Mat Classic XXV on Feb. 21-22 in the Tacoma Dome.
The early-season struggles and scraps turn to mettle and moxie when the postseason arrives. At least, that’s the hope.
Barnes lines up the best competition, and for the most part, the Vikings knock them down ultimately. The program has won five Class 4A state titles in the last eight seasons, including the 2013 title, and nine state crowns in school history.
The formula appears to be working.
“Our schedule really isn’t much different than it usually is,” Barnes said. “It was nice, because we had a lot of home matches. The one difference was being able to add a program like Moses Lake to our schedule again.
“We definitely don’t have the dual-meet team we’ve had in the past and we have some holes in our lineup. We have so many guys at the same weight classes, around 113 to 132. We’re just stacked there with two or three guys at each weight.”
Barnes feels his team might be better equipped to do well in a tournament format with his talent-loaded weight classes. His squad is ranked No. 2 in 4A behind Union of Vancouver in the www.washingtonwrestlingreport.net rankings.
“I think the team race is going to be really exciting, and there’s probably four teams that can win it,” Barnes said. “I think Moses Lake is one of them, definitely. Tahoma’s definitely one of them, and I think Central Valley of Spokane is one of them, and us too.
“It’s probably going to come down to who has a good weekend. That’s why we scheduled teams like Moses Lake, to test yourself. You find out where you’re at and what you need to work on. It’s always good to have competition. We’re trying to get better as the year progresses.”
Lake Stevens, which faced and lost duals to tradition-rich programs like Moses Lake and Roseburg, Ore., potentially has five state-champion caliber wrestlers and great depth.
“I think we have four guys, at least, who could make a run at [a state title],” Barnes said.
The talent starts with two-time state champion Noah Cuzzetto, a senior transfer from Edmonds-Woodway who is ranked No. 1 at 132 pounds in 4A by www.washingtonwrestlingreport.net. Cuzzetto is 17-2 this season so far with one of his losses in the title match at 132 at Tri-State to Kuna’s Michael Cook.
Cuzzetto won 106 in 4A as a sophomore and 113 as a junior for Edmonds-Woodway. He seeks his fourth trip to state and carries a 116-23 record for his high-school career.
“We wouldn’t be in the same spot as a team without him,” Barnes said. “He does a great job.”
The Vikings’ 113-pounder Michael Soler (10-5) is rated No. 2 in his weight class after winning 106 in 4A as a freshman last season. Also at 113 is Ty Headland (6-4), who is ranked No. 5 in 4A. Both wrestlers battled through early-season illness and injury.
Sophomore Jake Douglas, ranked No. 2 at 126 in 4A, is 17-4 and junior Cody Vigoren, rated No. 1 at 195 after taking fourth at 170 as a sophomore, is 17-1. Senior Logan Johnson, checks in at No. 5 at 160, and owns a 16-7 mark this season.
“Vigoren is just coming on,” Barnes said. “He’s a good athlete and a hard worker. He’s also a good baseball player.”
At 120, the Vikings have two wrestlers – sophomore Rueben Crew and junior Alex Rodorigo – with a chance to do well at state. Crew is ranked No. 4 at that weight and Rodorigo is No. 5.
Also at 126, senior Wyatt Bell was a state qualifier last season.
“We have a lot of guys who have won matches at state for us, so it could turn out pretty good for us,” Barnes said. “But, they’re also at tough weight classes with a lot of those guys.”
In addition to tough duals, the Vikings took part in respected tournaments like the 35th annual Tri-State Wrestling Tournament on Dec. 20-21 at North Idaho College in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. They finished third in the team standings with 141 points, behind champion Kuna, Idaho, which put up 193 points.
Lake Stevens looks poised for another strong postseason run, starting with the WesCo 4A tournament on Feb. 6-7 at Snohomish High School and regionals on Feb. 15-16 at Central Kitsap High School. The Vikings close out WesCo 4A South Division action at Snohomish on Tuesday at 7 p.m. with the division title on the line.
“After tomorrow and our last dual meet, then it becomes all about the tournaments and qualifying guys for district, regionals and state,” Barnes said. “We want to try go get as many guys as we can to that point.”
Once state arrives, Barnes knows his team will need combine talent with a little bit of luck to contend for the state title.
The Vikings’ lineup might not be a formidable in a dual-meet format, but they could be pretty tough in a tournament setting with multiple weights with two strong wrestlers or more.
“To have any chance for us to win a state title, we’re going have to have double-placers at some weights,” Barnes said. “The toughest thing is those weights we have two guys at are some of the toughest weights at the state tournament. It’s going to be interesting to see how that shakes out.”
Marquee matches upcoming
… KingCo 4A Conference leader Woodinville (9-0) won a pair of significant dual meets in pursuit of clinching the conference crown this week.
The Falcons beat Newport 62-10 on Tuesday and Inglemoor 47-21 on Thursday. Woodinville closes out KingCo 4A action on Tuesday, Jan. 28 at home against Issaquah (8-0) with the KingCo 4A title on the line.
… Tahoma, ranked No. 4 in Class 4A, hosts Enumclaw, ranked No. 9 in 3A, on Thursday, Jan. 30 at 7 p.m. for the two school’s 12th annual “Battle of the Bone.”
This match traditionally features two of the top programs in the state and usually provides some drama and close matches. The Hornets won a thriller last season 32-28 as Wyley Stewart tallied a tight 7-5 decision at 220, the second-to-last match of the evening.
… Glacier Peak (2-0), atop the WesCo 3A South Division, faces two tests this week en route to trying to wrap up the divisional title.
The Grizzlies hosts Shorecrest (0-2) on Tuesday at 7 p.m. and then travels to Mountlake Terrace (2-1) on Thursday at 7 p.m. to cap off its league slate.
Sites announced by WIAA for upcoming regional wrestling
Regional Wrestling Alignment 2012-14
(Alignments approved by WIAA Executive Board 12/3/2012)
Regionals take place Feb. 14-15, 2014
(4.5) Wesco 11 + Narrows 7 = 18 (Central Kitsap)
(4) Kingco 11 + GSHL 6 = 17 (Inglemoor)
(4.5) SPSL North 9 + SPSL South 9 = 18 (Emerald Ridge)
(3) Big 9 5 + GSL 5 + MCC 4 = 14 (Pasco)
(4) Wesco North 5+ NWC 1 + Metro 11 = 17 (Nathan Hale)
(4) SPSL 6 + Narrows 7 = 13 (Bonney Lake)
(4) GSHL 6 + Kingco 6 = Seamount 3 = 15 (Skyline)
(4) MCC 5 + GSL 5 + Wesco South 6 = 16 (Glacier Peak)
(4) NWC 7 + Cascade 5 + Kingco 2 = 14 (Squalicum)
(4) Seamount 4 + Olympic 8 + GSHL 5 = 17 (Hockinson)
(4) Evergreen 7 + SPSL 8 = 15 (Steilacoom)
(4) CWAC 10 + Gr North 7 = 17 (West Valley, Spokane)
(4) NWC 5 + Evergreen 7 = 12 (Blaine)
(4) TriCo 8 + Nisqaully (Port Townsend) 5 = 13 (Castle Rock)
(4) SCAC East 8 + SCAC West 6 = 14 (Zillah)
(4) Northeast A 7 + Caribou Tr 7 = 14 (Freeman)
(3) W. Wash 10 – Site (Darrington)
(5) E. Wash 16 – Site (Kittitas)
All Classifications — Girls Regional
(4) Region 1 – (Bellingham)
(4) Region 2 – (TBD)
(4) Region 3 – (TBD)
(4) Region 4 – (Wahluke)
… According to www.nwcaonline.com, here are the top teams in wins in the state in dual-meets competition:
Port Angeles 12-1; Woodinville 12-1; North Mason 11-7; Olympic 9-2; Skyline 9-2; Lake Stevens 8-3; University (Spokane) 8-0; Snohomish 7-2.
… Decatur, fueled by four individual champions, captured top team honors in the 2014 Jaguar Invitational on Saturday at Emerald Ridge High School.
The Gators piled up 244.5 points to post a convincing win over runner-up Kelso (143) and third-place Kentwood (141).
Bringing home titles for Decatur were Leviticus Arizpe (126), Christian Aragon (152), Brandon Zimmerman (160) and Max Henry (182).
Arizpe posted four pins en route to winning his weight class, including a stick in 23 seconds over Kelso’s Kairan Payton in the final.
… Yelm took first place as a team in the 2014 South Kitsap Invitational on Saturday at South Kitsap High School.
The Tornadoes posted a winning total of 229.5 points to Mountain View’s 199.5 runner-up score.
… The Tornadoes also scored another team title on Saturday in the 2014 River Ridge Invitational at the Lacey school.
Yelm posted a winning score of 212 points to Sultan’s total of 200.5.
Thomas Munoz took the 113-pound weight class for the Tornadoes’ lone individual champion, beating Renton’s Tony Pham 7-0.
Lindbergh took third as a team with 182.5 points and Renton was fifth with 132.
… In SPSL 3A, Decatur (5-0) won the regular-season team title with a 38-22 win over Enumclaw on Wednesday in a battle of league unbeaten. Enumclaw dipped to 4-1.
… Tahoma improved to 7-0 with back-to-back victories over Auburn (48-15) and Kent-Meridian (63-12) on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, last week. The wins effectively wrapped up the SPSL 4A North Division title with one match remaining on Wednesday at home against Kentlake at 7:30 p.m.
Kentridge (5-1), Kent-Meridian (5-2) and Auburn (4-1) trail in the team race.
… Lindbergh capped a perfect 7-0 campaign in the Seamount League with a 43-31 home victory against Kennedy Catholic (3-3) on Thursday. First-year Eagles coach Michael Pine said he believes it is the first league title for the school in 24 years and the first undefeated season in 30 years.
Here’s records for Lindbergh’s top wrestlers this season:
Junior Chad Omonaka (113, 19-6); junior Jayden Schwope (120, 25-6); senior Colton Maddy (126, 21-4); senior Westerling Nugent (138, 20-8); junior Joey Hernandez (182, 16-5); senior Trevonn Russell (195, 19-3); and junior James Garcia (285, 11-1).
… Fresh off Thursday’s 45-24 home win over Mount Vernon, Lake Stevens (3-0) is poised to wrap up the WesCo 4A North Division team crown with a road match at Snohomish (2-0) on Tuesday, Jan. 28. The match starts at 7 p.m.
… On the girls side, Kelso captured the team title 200-174 over Washougal in the 2014 Jaguar Girls Invitational on Saturday at Emerald Ridge High School.
Beamer was the top local team, taking fifth with 95 points. White River was sixth at 81 points, Emerald Ridge seventh at 58, Kent-Meridian eighth at 56, Enumclaw ninth at 52 and Kentwood 10th at 48.
Six locals brought home individual titles.
Getting first-place trophies were Decatur’s Auna Carpio (112), Beamer’s Arian Carpio (130), Enumclaw’s Danieel Cormier (145), Beamer’s Vanessa Dixon (170), Beamer’s Hailie Parker (190) and Enumclaw’s KC Moulden (235).
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.