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Washington Voices

Competitive nature pays off for Stags

Thu., Feb. 25, 2010, midnight

Since becoming coach at Deer Park High School, Matt Jorgensen had not, until last weekend, had two wrestlers from the same weight compete in the state finals.

“I don’t think Deer Park ever has,” said the coach of a team that won the State 2A team title for the third straight year.

But there they were, freshmen Jake Konzal and Cole Harris clashing for the 103-pound title Saturday night in the Tacoma Dome. It didn’t really surprise their coach although the odds were long.

“I can’t say that I saw a finals matchup,” said Jorgensen. “I knew they were both really tough, but getting two to the finals is tough.”

The two were so combative that he recalled a practice incident when the pair wound up 3 feet off the mat onto the gym floor rather than allow one or the other a takedown.

They are so tough that they were finalists even after Harris injured his shoulder in a bicycling accident and had surgery prior to the season, getting a late start. Near the end of the year, Konzal broke his hand and wrestled with it heavily taped during postseason.

Still, he won the title 13-5, reversing a loss to Harris in regional.

“They are two totally different wrestlers,” said Jorgensen. “Cole is more control, Jake is more blast out of the gates. Their matches are intense, and they battle. They both get very upset, if they lose. On the mat there’s no love lost, but as soon as it’s done they are good friends. I’m looking forward to have them in the room the next several years.”

Deer Park scored 150 points and had five finalists, four of them placing second, and a third-place finisher. The Stags won the title despite the fact two-time state champion Drew Acorn left the team this season.

Success, said Jorgensen, is a product of mental toughness and the ability to come back from failure by working hard. It is a credo that has made Deer Park the best 2A program in state.

Saturday proved unkind to Riverside, which began the day with three semifinalists and was in the team trophy picture. The Rams lost all three, none of their placers ended higher than fifth and the team finished ninth overall.

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