Learning From Losses Stung By Defeat Last Year, Troy Campbell Was Determined To Make The Trip To State Championships This Year
East Valley wrestler Troy Campbell called last season a “fall-out year.”
The veteran Knights held promise of again challenging for a state championship. Instead only two wrestlers qualified for the state meet in Tacoma.
Campbell wasn’t one of them.
“Going out at regional last year made me want to go to state this year and place as high as I can,” he said.
The 148-pound senior made good on his promise. He compiled a 27-8 record and is currently at Mat Classic VII in the Tacoma Dome, completing a career that included three straight district finals berths and two state appearances.
His first trip, as a 135-pound sophomore, came as a surprise to everyone.
“I wasn’t even on varsity,” Campbell explained. “I got through the junior varsity qualifier and beat (teammate) Tim Irvin in our first match.”
He subsequently reached the district finals, losing to Pullman state placer Jeremy Alt by five points.
“He had pinned everybody in league,” said Campbell. “It set off the notion that I could go to state.”
It also led to chain of events that included EV’s second-place finish at the state meet and, with a wealth of experience coming back, high expectations for last season.
Trouble was, after a horrendous first round, eight Knights were subsequently eliminated in state qualifying matches. Campbell was one of them, losing twice by two points.
“We didn’t have much team unity, the season got long and we gave up a bit,” said Campbell, who admitted there was a lot of pressure on the Knights because of their experience.
This year, after two successive district second-place finishes, firstyear coach Marc Perry, said Campbell was determined to go out a district champion.
“There was no way he was going to take second this year,” Perry said. “He wanted to be in the state tournament.”
Although he lost 12-6 in the regional finals last week to unbeaten Roberto Martinez of Othello, Campbell got his wish. The top four wrestlers in each weight class advance from the regional meet to state.
“I was real confident I could get through,” Campbell said. “I was most concerned about the Othello guy. His 27-0 record kind of made me nervous. After the first round I realized I could wrestle with him.”
A lanky 6-foot-1 148-pounder, Campbell is taller than most in his weight class, which gives him a leverage advantage.
Wrestling has been his only sport in high school. He took it up as a fourth-grader, following friends Dan and Doug Duer to a camp at Mountain View Middle School.
Campbell credited Mountain View coach Dave Smith for inspiring him and high school coaches Charlie Miller and now Perry for their teaching.
“They are similar in a lot of ways,” said Campbell. “Mr. Perry helped us out on (setting) our goals and helped me work on my feet and with leg rides.”
Perry called Campbell a quiet leader and hard worker.
“You don’t have to worry about him making weight. You don’t have to worry about him performing at his best level,” said Perry. “He will do that time in and time out.”
The reward for four EV wrestlers, including Campbell and fellow seniors Casey Stookey and Matt Eastman, who also lost state berths in the consolation semifinals of regionals last year, was this weekend’s appearance at Mat Classic VII.