East Valley’s third-place finish during the State 3A high school wrestling tournament last weekend in Tacoma wasn’t for lack of performance, but for lack of numbers.
The Knights had seven state placers, three of them finalists, which was more than second-place Yelm. Champion Enumclaw had one more finalist and two more placers.
But the difference was the Hornets had 14 state qualifiers and Yelm 11 to EV’s eight. Those extra points couldn’t be made up.
Part of the reason was the difficulty of Region 4, which included tough District 1 teams from the Skagit Valley as well as athletes from perennially tough Sunnyside. The region produced five of the top eight teams, yet minimized the opportunity for large qualifying numbers.
Enumclaw scored 174 points, Yelm 139 and the Knights 127.
Dakota Lawson capped a year of dominance at 189 pounds by sweeping into the finals, where he won 5-4. Fellow senior Jake Rodriquez reached the 152-pound final where he ran afoul of Sedro-Woolley standout Derek Garcia. At 145, Chris Tripplet was denied a state title in an overtime final.
Freshman Nick Sweeney was third behind two Sunnyside wrestlers. Junior Keith Babington and senior Nic Price were all semifinalists, both losing to eventual state champs, Babington to Sunnyside’s Steven Romero.
Such was the uphill battle EV faced.
U-Hi had two finalists, including champion Jake Mason at 160, and junior Quinn Gannon won his first state championship of a goal to become West Valley’s first multiple winner. His title came 37 years after an uncle, Steve Gannon, won for the Eagles.
University – Stacie Davis, 10th uneven bars; 10th balance beam.
Central Valley (3) – Jarod Maynes, so., third, 112; Tyler Simmet, sr., third, 140; Cody Stratton, sr., fifth, 171.
East Valley (7) – Dakota Lawson, sr., state champion, 189; Jake Rodriguez, sr., second, 152; Chris Tripplet, jr., second, 145; Nic Price, sr., third, 160; Nick Sweeney, fr., third, 103; Keith Babington, jr., fourth, 112; Sean Biltoft, jr., eighth, 135.
University (4) – Jake Mason, jr., state champion, 160; Ryan Zumwalt, jr., second, 145; Kevin Harder, jr., fifth, 135; Brandon Matlock, so., seventh, 103.
West Valley (1) – Quinn Gannon, jr., state champion, 130.
Freeman (1) – Cody Gunn, sr., sixth, 189.
Liberty (1) – Josh Strohl, sr., second, 285.