“Weighing In”: This is the third installment of the 2014-2015 high-school wrestling blog. A look at Kent-Meridian’s Emmanuel Daigbe, marquee matchups, top targets, big performances and links to individual and team rankings.
Watch out for Daigbe once he’s 100-percent healthy
When junior Emmanuel Daigbe shakes his first winter cold and a nagging rib injury for football, the rest of the state wrestling competition better be on alert.
The Kent-Meridian High School wrestler, who took second place at 170 pounds at the Class 4A state tournament last season, is slowed now but onlookers hardly know it.
Daigbe, also an all-state wide receiver for the Royals’ football team, is poised for another banner season in wrestling this winter even though his primary focus is on the gridiron. Despite missing some matches, he’s off to an 8-0 start with five pins, including a 182-pound title on Saturday at the Rogers of Puyallup Holiday Invitational.
Daigbe is ranked No. 2 in 4A at 182 pounds by www.washingtonwrestlingreport.net with an eye toward No. 1. The Royals’ top wrestler could go up to 195, but hopes to land at 182.
“He certainly should be there [at 182] by the end of the year,” Kent-Meridian coach Todd Owens said. “I think that would be the best weight for him.”
His nemesis when he finished second at 170 last year was Alex Berfanger of Union of Vancouver. Berfanger, a senior and ranked No. 1 now at 182, beat Daigbe 11-5 in last season’s 170-pound final in 4A.
Berfanger figures to stand in the way of Daigbe’s title dreams again.
“I think he’s definitely looking forward to [a rematch],” Owens said. “Emmanuel is mostly an off-season football guy, but he did spend some time with us offseason working out.
Daigbe scored a pair of pins at the Rogers tournament before closing out his 182-pound title run with a 6-2 decision over Enumclaw’s Kioni Gill in the title match.
“He was not at 100 percent [over the weekend] by a long shot,” Owens said. “A guy like Emmanuel, he learns each day he goes into the [wrestling] room and he learns every tournament. He won’t make the same mistakes.
“He kind of had the deer-in-the-headlights thing at state last year, and I think it will be a much better match [against Berfanger] next time.”
The soonest Daigbe likely will face Berfanger again would be at regionals, which are hosted by Kent-Meridian.
This season, Daigbe has also registered a win over Tahoma’s Adam Hokenson, who took eighth at 182 in 4A state last season, in an SPSL 4A dual on Dec. 17.
“He’s the best athlete I’ve had,” said Owens, the Royals’ 12th-year coach. “He’s definitely a gifted kid, but he’s also a hard worker. If you see him, you don’t have to be told that.
“He’s a beast. He’s the hardest worker they’ve got [on the Royals’ football team].”
Marquee matches upcoming
… Dominant Washington teams – Snohomish and Mountain View of Vancouver — will travel to Portland, Ore., for the Northwest Duals on Dec. 29-30 at Westview High School.
… Auburn hosts the All-SPSL Tournament on Jan. 2-3 as the best teams in 4A, 3A and 2A converge on the Trojans gymnasium.
… Everett hosts the Everett Classic on Saturday, Jan. 3, starting at 9 a.m.
… In a key WesCo 4A dual match, Lake Stevens hosts Snohomish on Wednesday, Jan. 7 at 7 p.m.
… The 13th annual Battle of Bone takes place on Thursday, Jan. 8 as Enumclaw hosts Tahoma in the showdown of perennial state wrestling powers at 7 p.m.
… Snohomish is 6-0 in dual meets and 2-0 in WesCo 4A.
… Auburn beat Enumclaw 42-19 in a key SPSL 3A/2A dual meet last Wednesday. The Trojans (2-1), ranked No. 3 in Class 3A, figures as the team to beat ultimately in SPSL 3A/2A despite losing to Sumner 42-25 in their season opener on Dec. 4. Sumner is 3-0 atop the standings.
… The Decatur boys and the Federal Way girls won their respective team titles at the Hammerhead Invitational on Friday and Saturday at the Kitsap Pavilion in Bremerton. Here’s a link to The Seattle Times’ coverage:
… Some of the best wrestlers in the Pacific Norhwest gathered over the weekend in Idaho. Tahoma was fourth and Lake Stevens fifth in the team standings of the 43rd annual Tri-State Invitational wrestling tournament. Here’s a link to the Times’ press coverage and results of the 43rd annual Tri-State Invite at North Idaho College on Friday and Saturday:
… Yelm won the Rogers Holiday Tournament over Enumclaw 238.5 to 194.5 on Saturday.
2014-15 preseason team & individual rankings
All Classifications page
High school page
Here are three valuable wrestling resources on the web:
Searchable database for results
Team and individual rankings, results
WIAA wrestling page
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.