TACOMA – Central Valley’s defending State 4A champs pulled off repeats in impressive style Saturday at Mat Classic XXVI.
And senior Colton Orrino and junior Blake Beard finished undefeated at the Tacoma Dome.
Orrino bounced back from a lackluster Friday to look as smooth as he’s looked all year. He topped Nathan Vulliet of Edmonds-Woodway 6-1 at 145 pounds.
Beard overcame Pryce Seely of Richland with a 6-2 decision at 138.
Orrino got a first-period takedown and followed up with a reversal for a 4-0 lead in the second.
He allowed an escape in the third before finishing with a takedown.
“The fact that everybody is gunning for you makes this special because you’re the returning state champ,” Orrino, who finished 31-0, said of the repeat. “I wanted to wrestle better than I did Friday.”
Beard used a takedown in the first period for a 2-0 lead. Seely reversed him in the second, knotting the score at 2-2. But Beard got an escape with one second to go in the period.
He fought issues with a bloody nose all match. In the third, he got two takedowns to finish off Seely.
“I pinned him in the second period (at regionals),” Beard said. “So I knew they were going to watch film on me. I knew I had to get a lead and wrestle hard.”
Beard finished 28-0. He missed two weeks including the Tri-State tournament nursing a high ankle sprain.
He was wearing a brace Saturday as he has since returning from the injury.
“I had to wrestle hard until the third and capitalize on his mistakes like I did at the end,” Beard said.
Beard was grateful afterward.
“I want to thank God, my teammates, my coaches and my family,” Beard said.
Beard and Orrino surprised their coach, John Owen, Saturday morning by wearing homemade T-Shirts with an old picture of Owen and a cute statement that said “John Owen is my homeboy.”
Owen was both flustered and flattered by his wrestlers’ prank. They wore the T-Shirts matside for their semifinal and final matches.
The coach figured his wife, Janet, was part of the gag. Orrino admitted later that he took a picture with his phone of Owen’s picture that is located in the Hall of Fame area in the Spokane Arena.
“That’s just not right,” Owen said, half exasperated.
Lake Stevens defended its state title, finishing with 133 points. It was LS’s 10th overall.
Moses Lake (116.5) took second, Union (111) was third and CV (101.5) earned a trophy at fourth.
Beard’s younger brother, Bryson (120), and David Shepard (160) were runners-up as were Mason Ju (220) of Mead and Andrew Backlund (195) of Lewis and Clark.
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