In this edition of “Weighing In,” we’ll look at Decatur’s strong hand and another run at a Class 3A state title after coming up just short in 2013. Also, we’ll take a look at Marquee matches upcoming, Top targets, Big performances and links to state rankings individually and team.
Decatur primed to make move at school’s first state title in wrestling
That’s all that separated the Decatur High School wrestling from its first state title in the sport of wrestling.
The Gators push for a Class 3A team title at last year’s Mat Classic XXV came up four points and one place short, falling to University of Spokane 142.5 points to 138.5. They came up with just one individual state champion in 285-pounder Kyle Gleed, who graduated.
The program is back to grab more this time.
Despite losing some key seniors, Decatur comes loaded with 11 quality wrestlers and big shot at bringing home that elusive state crown on Friday and Saturday at Mat Classic XXVI in the Tacoma Dome. On paper, the Gators appear to possess four maybe five state-title contenders this season.
Eight Gators made the Class 3A Region 2 wrestling tournament finals with four being crowned as region champs – Trysten Dawson (120 pounds, 32-6 season record), Leviticus Arizpe (126, 37-1), Isaiah Diggs (138, 33-3) and Brandon Zimmerman (160, 33-4).
Decatur won team crown at regionals with plenty of room to spare, 222 points to second-place Bonney Lake’s 157. The Gators had a stretch Saturday which saw seven consecutive wrestlers compete in the finals.
“I honestly think my team is the best in the state,” Dawson told The News Tribune. “We train as hard as we can, even after practice, running at home. We do whatever we can to be the best.”
Even with a stocked room of talent, Gators’ coach Mike Bressler looks at the task simply. Lack of desire won’t be an issue.
“The plan is just keep wrestling and work hard,” said Bressler, who took over a struggling program 17 seasons ago. “It boils down to the kids have to score points. Kids can’t be satisfied with just getting there.
“We have a lot of young kids going there for the first time and we’ll see if we can get them ready. This tournament is an extremely difficult tournament to win. It’s the toughest one than any other sport, because there’s so many variables and a single half point will make a will make a determination between first, second, third and fourth. It’s about who gets the breaks.”
Earning runner-up honors at regionals for Decatur were Zach Berry (132, 30-8), Dennis Good (145, 28-6), Christian Aragon (152, 26-8) and AJ Sarno (170, 28-6).
“We’ve got several guys who are capable of and with a chance of winning [state] titles, but you have to wrestle the matches,” Bressler said. “But it’s just like the rankings, that doesn’t mean anything. That’s on paper.”
Bressler doesn’t get caught up in the hype of his team being ranked No. 1 in Class 3A as a team by www.washingtonwrestlingreport.net.
“I just tell my kids not to pay attention to that garbage,” he said. “That’s because, it means nothing. The only ranking that means something is that one at the end of the year.”
Bressler know his guys work hard and that gives him some confidence.
“Wrestling’s a tough season,” he said. “With a high-level team that has a real difficult schedule, it’s a real grind. I’m just proud of the guys for sticking with it, sticking to the plan, staying focused and working hard all year long.”
Eastern Washington schools strong in Class 3A Region 4 tournament; West gets 2 winners
Teams from eastern Washington dominated the Class 3A Region 4 tournament on Saturday at Glacier Peak High School, nailing down the top five team placings and six of the top seven.
University of Spokane won the team race with 197 points. Mount Spokane took second at 163.5, North Central of Spokane was third at 130.5, Sunnyside fourth at 124.5 and Shadle Park of Spokane fifth at 89. Glacier Peak was the top western Washington team, checking in sixth with 82 points. Hanford was seventh with 62.
Meadowdale senior Ciaran Ball was one of two western Washington wrestlers to take a Region 4 crown individually, finishing at the top at 195 pounds. Ball earned a tough 4-2 decision over Hanford senior Will Bishop in the 195 final and reached the title bout with a pair of pins.
Ball enters state ranked No. 1 in the 195-pound weight class for Class 3A. Bishop is rated No. 3 in 195.
Ball pinned 10th-ranked Isaac Palomino of Sunnyside in 45 seconds in his opening regional match and then came back to pin Shadle Park’s Ryan Burnett in 1:06 in his semifinal match.
Shorewood senior Matthew Floresca captured the 126-pound regional crown. In a match pitting the two top-ranked wrestlers in 3A at 126, He beat University of Spokane’s Cam Sorensen 2-0 in the final.
Floresca is ranked No. 1 in 3A at 126 and Sorensen No. 2.
CIARAN BALL PROFILE
|Meadowdale High School|
|2013-14 (Senior) – 31-1 start, 23 pins at 195 so far.|
|2012-13 (Junior) – 33-3, 4th place at 195 in 3A.|
|2011-12 (Sophomore) – 32-4, 5th place at 195 in 3A.|
|2010-11 (Freshman) – 7-4 at 189, did not qualify for state, coming off elbow injury that required surgery and was ill during postseason.|
|Career record – 103-12 so far.|
MATTHEW FLORESCA PROFILE
|Shorewood High School|
|2013-2014 (Senior) – 31-1, 21 pins at 126 so far.|
|2012-2013 (Junior) — 32-1 at 126, 2nd at state, lost 3-1 to 3-time state champion Josh Newberg of Kelso.|
|2011-2012 (Sophomore) — 29-3 at 120, 4th at state.|
|2010-2011 (Freshman) — 29-4 at 112, 7th at state.|
|Career record – 121-9 so far.|
Meyerhoffs, Thiel to take a step back after Mat Classic XXVI
Jim Meyerhoff and wife, Phyllis, have been a fixture at all of the previous Mat Classic state wrestling tournaments since it started 26 years ago.
So has Shelly Thiel.
For the Meyerhoffs and Thiel, this Friday and Saturday’s Mat Classic XXVI will be the swan song for the one-of-a-kind state tournament. The tourney will lose two of its founding fathers, so to speak.
Meyerhoff, the Mat Classic Director, and his wife, Phyllis, who held various operation titles, will retire from their responsibilities with Mat Classic after this year’s tournament.
Meyerhoff, a Washington State Wrestling Coaches Association (WSWCA) Hall of Fame inductee, has been involved in wrestling for 51 years, dating to his competitive days in high school.
Meyerhoff coached at Ballou Junior High School (1970-1973), Franklin Pierce High School (1973-1985) and Pacific Lutheran University (1985-1988).
Thiel, currently the Co-Manager for the 1B/2B and 4A classifications, also will step down from his duties after this weekend’s action.
All three have played varying roles in the state’s marquee high-school wrestling event since its inception in 1989.
Meyerhoff and Thiel were two of the three original Mat Classic managers.
Big Performances …
Moses Lake stakes claim to Class 4A Region 4 title, eyes state crown
Moses Lake had 15 placers in the top six, including three individual champions, to cruise to the Class 4A Region 4 tournament title with 229.5 points to runner-up Mead of Spokane’s 167.
The Chiefs, ranked No. 3 in Class 4A, went 35-22 with 12 pins, one technical fall and five major decisions. They got individual titles from junior Trey Long (106), senior Fernando Leyva (113) and senior Jordan Lacelle (182).
Central Valley of Spokane, third with 158.5 points, landed five individual crowns with sophomore Bryson Beard (120), freshman Braedon Orrino (132), junior Blake Beard (138), senior Colton Orrino (145) and senior David Shepard (160).
Tornadoes take turn winning Class 4A Region 1 tournament
Yelm, ranked No. 6 in Class 4A, unseated Lake Stevens as team champions of the Class 4A Region 1 on Saturday at Central Kitsap High School.
The Tornadoes were powered by three region champions individually and advanced 10 wrestlers to Mat Classic XXVI. Lake Stevens, ranked No. 2 in 4A, moved along 10 wrestlers and had four regional champs.
Yelm finished with 221 points to the runner-up Vikings’ 187 total.
The Tornadoes earned titles from junior Darren Harris (120), Tanner Page (138) and Brandon Rochester (152). Harris won a state title at 106 in Class 3A as a freshman and was second at 113 in 4A as a sophomore, falling to Noah Cuzzetto in the final.
Cuzzetto, who transferred from Edmonds Woodway to Lake Stevens for his senior season, was one of four titlists for the Vikings on Saturday. Cuzzetto, bidding to become a three-time state champion this season, won the 132-pound weight class at regionals.
Teammates Michael Soler (113), Jake Douglas (126) and Cody Vigoren (196) secured spots atop the podium at regionals.
Orting goes 5-for-5 in finals, takes Class 2A Region 3 title
Junior Fred Green, a two-time state champion, led Orting’s parade of five individual champions as the Cardinals delivered on Saturday with the Class 2A Region 3 team title.
Orting finished with 160.5 points to Sumner’s 135 and Fife’s 131.
Green won the 126-pound weight class and teammates freshman Ben Gore (120), senior Michael Moniz (145), sophomore Rico Ybarra (152) and sophomore Hunter Mullins (220) also were crowned.
Green won the 113 title in 2A state last season and took 106 in 1A state as a freshman.
Lancers upset Puyallup to earn school’s first regional team title
With some late luck, the Lakes girls wrestling team pulled off a big upset on Saturday, upending top-ranked Puyallup to claim the school’s first regional team title in the girls Region 2 tournament at Steilacoom High School.
The Lancers posted a narrow 90-88 win over Puyallup, which failed to get points in the 190-pound final when its wrestler suffered a pin.
Lakes’ Sienna Ramirez (100) and Kiaya Van Scoyoc (170) scored regional crowns for the upset winners, who came in ranked No. 12 in the state amongst girls teams.
Haley Franich (106) and Jordyn Bartelson (118) provided regional crowns for Puyallup.
Defending 235-pound state champion KC Moulden of Enumclaw took a step closer to backing up last year’s crown with a regional crown. Moulden pinned Julia Sylstad of Franklin Pierce in 53 seconds in the 235 final.
Weather limits recovery time for southwest Washington with delayed sub-regionals
Teams from southwest Washington didn’t have much recovery time after inclement weather pushed back sub-regional tournament from Feb. 7-8 to Feb. 11-12, just two days prior to regional action over the weekend.
It might have hurt some individual chances, but it didn’t affect teams in the team races from southwest Washington.
Union of Vancouver captured the team title at the Class 4A Region 2 event at Inglemoor High School and Mountain View (Vancouver) won the Class 3A Region 3 tournament at Skyline High School, both on Saturday.
Union pushed through 11 wrestlers to Mat Classic XXVI next Friday and Saturday.
Union dominates Class 4A Region 2 tournament
Fueled by eight individual champions, Union of Vancouver ran away with the team title in the Class 4A Region 2 tournament with 235.5 points and a record of 33-14 with 16 pins, one technical fall and three major decisions.
Heritage was a distant second with 131 points. Woodinville was third with 104.5 and Inglemoor took fourth with 93.5.
Union’s John Godinho won 4A Region 2 Coach of the Year honors and Titans’ assistant Kyle Bounds won the 4A Region 2 Assistant Coach of the Year title.
The Titans, ranked No. 1 in Class 4A, put together a run of four consecutive individual crowns in the early weights, starting with freshman JJ Talavera at 120, and never really relented.
Following with titles were senior Daniel Rice (126), senior Junior Godinho (132), freshman Tommy Strassenberg (138), senior Jeremiah Reynolds (152), junior Michael Snediker (160), junior Alex Berfanger (170) and senior Cody Gromes (195).
Tahoma, Cruz Velasquez dominant at 4A Region 3 tournament
Here’s a link to Sandy Ringer’s story from Saturday’s Class 4A Region 3 event at Emerald Ridge High School. The Bears advanced 10 wrestlers in Class 4A to Mat Classic XXVI:
Mount Si’s Clure avenges close class, makes sure with 3A Region 3 title
Here’s a link to my story from Saturday’s action at Skyline High School for the Class 3A Region 3 tournament:
Marquee matches upcoming
… The Class 4A, 3A, 2A, 1A, 1B/2B and girls state tournaments – Mat Classic XXVI – takes place on Friday, Feb. 21 and Saturday, Feb. 22 at the Tacoma Dome.
… There could be some intriguing second-round matchups at Mat Classic XXVI. Potential showdowns that could make for some championship flavor early in the tournament are:
Class 3A 126 pounds – Matthew Floresca (Shorewood) vs. Andrew Ramirez (Lakes). Floresca is ranked No. 1 at 126 in 3A and Ramirez No. 4. Floresca was second at 126 in 3A last season.
Class 3A 126 pounds – Leviticus Arizpe (Decatur) vs. Kiegen Schauer (Mount Spokane). Arizpe is rated No. 3 at 126 in 3A in a deep weight class. Schauer sits No. 5. Arizpe was third at 113 in 3A last season. Schauer was second at 120 in 3A last season.
Class 3A 132 pounds – Matthew Iwicki (Eastside Catholic) vs. Tyler Wicken (Kelso). Iwicki won a state title at 120 in 3A as a sophomore. Wicken was the state runner-up at 132 in 3A as junior.
Class 4A 138 pounds – Blake Beard (Central Valley of Spokane) vs. Jahleel Smith (Kent-Meridian). Beard is ranked No. 1 at 138 in 4A. Smith is ranked No .11. Beard won 126 in 4A last season. Smith was third at 138 at 4A Region 3 on Saturday.
Regionals results (Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014) & Mat Classic XXVI bracket (Friday, Feb. 21 & Saturday, Feb. 22) links
State and regional link (breakdown by classifications, regions)
… Woodinville senior Ryan Christensen is undefeated at 32-0 heading into Mat Classic XXVI this weekend. Christensen beat three foes at regionals — Class 4A Region 2 — each by a quick pin. He downed his opponents by fall in 1:36, :48 and 1:16, the last of which was over Heritage’s Jacob Cooper in the 182-pound championship bout at regionals.
Name game: First team all-name team
… Perhaps the most interesting name from last Saturday’s regional wrestling action: Biscuits Graves of Ferndale.
I think that’s what I had for breakfast on Saturday. Maybe he could stand eat more biscuits and gravy, although it didn’t appear zap any of his energy.
The Golden Eagles’ freshman won the 106-pound weight class at Class 3A Region 1 at Nathan Hale High School with a pin in 4:03 over Martin Chavez of Nathan Hale in the 106 final.
Graves was one of four individual champions for Ferndale.
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.