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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Mead, Deer Park, Colville going after team wrestling titles

Randy Cloke calls Colville the “northern star” at the tip of the corridor of wrestling’s elite.

On a straight line moving northward, Mead is chasing a State 4A title and Deer Park is after its fifth successive 2A championship.

Colville would like to eventually be mentioned in the same breath, Cloke said.

Now in his fourth season as head coach, Cloke was enticed back into wrestling by former Colville wrestler and principal Kevin Knight, a collegiate competitor and former coach.

The Indians have qualified 11 wrestlers to this weekend’s State 1A tournament at Mat Classic XXIV today and Saturday in Tacoma.

“Eleven is definitely a record for me,” said the former North Central coach, adding that two others with postseason experience failed to advance. “I’ve had a lot of community help with our ‘Mat Rat’ and ‘Basement Boys’ programs.”

Colville went to a wrestling camp in Nampa, Idaho, that includes team matches and last summer won it.

The Indians’ motto is “From camp champs to state champs” as they seek to emulate the Panthers and Stags.

Wrestling has become a two-fold process in order to compete for state team trophies. Having top-end individuals such as Mead’s three defending state champions or Deer Park’s four returning top three finishers is a must. But, coaches point out, state has also become a numbers game.

Mead, like Colville, has 11 state qualifiers, 10 of them regional champions or finalists.

But the Panthers aren’t alone in their bid for the 4A championship. Tahoma brings 15 qualifiers and three others have eight or more entrants.

“If it comes down to it and it takes 11 guys,” Panthers coach Phil McLean said, “you still have to win matches and score points.”

McLean won state at Gonzaga Prep with six.

“You always have to have a little luck, worry about what you can do and it will be what it is,” McLean said. “If our top-end kids make it to the finals, it’s a huge advantage.”

McLean said most everyone wrestled well during last weekend’s regional in Moses Lake, including a couple of surprise outcomes in the top two weights.

“Even with that we left a few soldiers home,” he said.

Nine wrestlers carry the torch for DP’s Stags, who will try to become the second team, after Sedro Woolley, to win five straight championships.

“Every year is a roller coaster, this year even more,” coach Matt Jorgensen said. “But we feel we have a pretty good shot. We’re healthy and have had great practices. We have four or five who could go real deep and maybe get into the finals. The young kids could win a match or two. We’ve got to count on that.”

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