West Valley 135-pounder Jeremy Thornton has been told he wrestles like the NBA Cleveland Cavaliers play basketball.
“It’s ugly, but effective,” the Eagles senior said.
In his quarterfinal match against Zeb Wilson of Lake Stevens, he blocked Wilson’s takedown attempts for a round. He rode him the second round to preserve the 0-0 deadlock, then scored escape and takedown points for a 5-1 win.
With the victory, Thornton became one of six Frontier League wrestlers to make the Mat Classic VII State AA semifinals this morning when second-day competition commences.
“I used to try and do all the moves until I could find something that worked for me,” Thornton said. “Instead of molding me, coaches let me grow my own way.”
His style is conservative but has been effective. Thornton has continually won close matches, and now he’s assured a state place.
Joining him is 101-pound teammate Quinn Sharpe, who won by technical fall and 7-1 for his two victories.
“I’ve played soccer longer than I’ve wrestled,” Sharpe said. “But right now, wrestling’s my priority.”
Two other Eagles, including two-time state third-place finisher Aaron Lehinger, were eliminated.
Pullman has two semifinalists - three-time state qualifier Kazuo Yoshiura at 141 pounds and two-time qualifier Earl Eastman at 275.
Yoshiura, who came to the United State from Japan five years ago, has had little success in two previous trips to state.
“The first time I came here I didn’t know anything,” Yoshiura said. “Last year, I lost my first and then I kind of gave up.”
Eastman, 0-4 in two previous state trips, said his success this year came from moving from 190 to heavyweight.
Others to advance unscathed from first-day action were East Valley 122-pound senior Casey Stookey in his first state trip. His brother Jay finished sixth twice before him.
“I’ve been waiting for this for six years,” said Stookey.
And Colville’s Brandon LaLonde won easily twice to continue at 158.
“The name `State’ kind of psyches you out, but I had it fairly easy,” said LaLonde, who turns 18 years old today. “I’ve always been a nervous type, but coach (Monty Jones) just told me to believe in myself.”
Frontier teams started winning 11 of 17. Still alive in consolation rounds are Jeremiah Divis, Colville; Jason Havens, Clarkston; Kyle Ryan, Pullman and Joe Gecas, Pullman. Pullman is in 7th place with 26.5 points. White River leads with 52.