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Sunday, April 5, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Bad break for NC

Loss of Pierce to injury costly for Indians

TACOMA – A year ago, the North Central wrestling team seemingly caught every break on its way to a State 3A championship.

The Indians couldn’t have suffered a worse break Saturday at the Tacoma Dome.

Senior Bryson Pierce, a state runner-up last year, suffered a broken collarbone in a 3-2 semifinal loss at 170 pounds.

Pierce was examined by the on-site medical staff. They suspected he had a broken collarbone and wouldn’t release him to wrestle until he had an X-ray.

Sure enough, the X-ray confirmed the injury, NC coach Luke Leifer said.

Leifer believed Pierce would have bounced back and finished third. That would have meant six more points. Instead, he had to injury default his final two matches, finishing sixth.

“It must have happened right at the end of the match,” Leifer said.

Enumclaw vaulted past NC with 110 points, pushing the Indians to second (108.5).

“I give Enumclaw a lot of credit. They stepped up,” Leifer said. “They had a great back bracket. They definitely earned it.”

Still, coming so close to a repeat but not pulling it off stung.

“For us it’s a little bit of a bummer because we had expectations of winning again,” Leifer said. “That was the goal all year.”

The Indians beat Enumclaw at the Dream Duals at East Valley last month.

NC didn’t leave Mat Classic without gold, though. The Quintanilla brothers made sure of that as Mat Classic XXVII concluded.

Clai Quintanilla used a pin with 20 seconds left in the first period to repeat and Izaec completed a threepeat with a 12-1 major decision over Ruben Crew of Arlington.

“I wanted to go out and dominate like I did last year in the finals,” Clai said. “We definitely came in here to win a second team title but at the end of the day you have to worry about you.”

Izaec Quintanilla, who is headed to the University of Wisconsin, injured his left shoulder in the semifinals.

He was his usual dominant self, though, in the title match. He’s the first three-time state champ in school history.

“I set the bar high but now I want my brother to beat it,” Izaec said. “It’s amazing but sad that it’s over. I’m looking forward to college wrestling and now I’ll begin transitioning into that.”

Alec Hoover of Mt. Spokane made it made it 3 out of 3 titles for 3A Greater Spokane League finalists.

Hoover edged Blake Llarenas of Hanford 3-2 at 120. He’s the second Hoover to win a state title. Older brother John was a champ in 2013.

“I was wrestling to control the tie-ups and not let him in on my legs,” Hoover said. “I tried to keep it even on my feet and win it on the mat.”

Girls: Amanda Gilliam of NC became the first girl from the Greater Spokane League to place at state.

Gilliam, a junior, took third at 110. She lost 10-2 in the semifinals but bounced back to pin in the consolation semifinals and won 20-13 over Kateri Rowell of Quincy in the match for third and fourth.

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