TACOMA – What Greater Spokane League 4A wrestling teams lacked in quantity they more than made up with quality Saturday at Mat Classic XXV.
Four GSL athletes, two each from Central Valley and Mead, captured state titles before an estimated crowd of 9,000 at the Tacoma Dome.
Sophomore Blake Beard and junior Colton Orrino broke through for the Bears. Beard was on the mat for just 21 seconds, winning by pin, while Orrino was solid in an 8-3 decision.
Senior Tyler McLean finally won the state title that eluded him a year ago and joined a special fraternity by becoming a son/father state title combination. In this case, his father is Mead coach Phil McLean.
In control from start to finish, Tyler McLean won 11-3.
Then junior Chandler Rogers matched his brother Jordan with a third state title, posting a pin in his longest match at state in 3 minutes, 39 seconds.
Those victories helped CV take fourth with 93 points and Mead finish fifth three points back. Lake Stevens (158) captured a ninth state title.
Beard won so fast that the public address announcer didn’t get a chance to read his biographical information.
“That’s when I’m at my best, when I don’t have a chance to coach,” quipped CV coach John Owen. “Sometimes you’re ready to go. He was obviously ready. He was real calm about things. I thought his approach coming in today was real relaxed.”
Beard said he knew he had to put his foot on the throttle fast in the final.
“Right away I knew I had to pressure him,” Beard said. “I put my hands on his head and snapped him down. I got a low-level single and got his hip and locked the cradle up. That was it.”
Beard expected a difficult match.
“I knew I was going to win but not that fast,” he said. “This is my whole life, what I’ve been working for with my dad, my brothers, all my coaches. This means everything.”
Orrino returned to where he knew he belonged, going back to his freshman year when he was a runner-up. He took third last year.
“I’ve been there before and it’s a lot sweeter to be on the other side of the person getting their hand raised,” Orrino said. “I’ve been the person kicking walls (out of frustration). I just told myself all weekend I’m not going to lose.”
The McLeans, naturally, were choked up afterward.
Tyler McLean maintained solid position, never putting himself in danger.
“This was the year,” Tyler said. “I learned last year that you’ve got to go for it, you’ve got to push every second. I had to train harder. I just went out and got it.”
Tyler McLean learned at a young age his dad was a state high school champ. He always wanted the same thing.
“When I was a little kid I’d always think about it,” he said.
When Phil McLean and his wife were blessed to have a son, he wanted nothing less than for him to follow in his footsteps.
“All that work and all that time paid off,” Phil said. “We saw it tonight. I’m so happy for him. He’s technically sound. He was nervous, he wanted to win so bad. Then he just started wrestling and when he wrestles he’s pretty darn good.”
Rogers called his brother before his final. Jordan is redshirting at Oklahoma State.
“I called him before this match and we prayed together over the phone,” Rogers said. “I was getting emotional – it was like he was here.”
Rogers was actually winded and sweating following the match.
“He came prepared,” Rogers said of his opponent.
It was Rogers’ 87th straight win, dating back to regionals his freshman year. He’ll try to become Mead’s – and the GSL’s – first four-time state champ and just the second in 4A state history next year.
“He’s the real deal,” Phil McLean said.
Tanner Davis of Central Valley placed second after a 4-1 loss in the 182 final.