TACOMA – The Beard brothers put on a clinic on Saturday at Mat Classic XXVII.
They shut down two talented opponents with airtight defense.
Senior Blake Beard scored a 1-0 decision over Jake Douglas of Lake Stevens in a showdown at 138 pounds, becoming the Bears’ first three-time state champ.
A few minutes earlier, Bryson Beard, a junior, became the second Beard state champ as he fended off Cooper McCullough of Moses Lake 3-2 in four overtimes.
In Blake Beard’s case, he proved it’s not how many points you score but how many one allows. No opponent scored a point off an offensive maneuver in all four matches.
“Defense is my best asset,” Blake said. “The thing is if they can’t score on me they can’t beat me. The match might have been 1-0 but he didn’t get off the ground one time. I rode him the whole third period.”
He said fulfilling the goal of being a three-time champ allowed him to take a big sigh of relief.
“I didn’t take anything for granted,” Blake said. “It was a lot of hard work but it feels so good to do it.”
Bryson Beard put a 14-2 beat down on McCullough at regionals last week.
It appeared Beard wasn’t going to be able to escape in the fourth overtime – which he had to do to win or McCullough, by rule, would have won for riding Beard out for 30 seconds.
But Beard got the escape with 3 seconds remaining.
“I was tired but I wasn’t going to stop,” Bryson said. “My goal has been to be a state champion since I was five years old and there’s no way I was going to get that close and lose.”
Beard said McCullough had what he described as a “deep claw” on him.
“He was riding it hard. I just had to keep my base to get to my feet,” Beard said. “Once I got to my feet I knew I was going to get away. I didn’t know how much time was left. I didn’t look at the clock the whole (nine minutes). I took him down like six times last week but he just tied my arms up. It was their goal to keep it as close as they could to try and pull it off at the end.”
CV coach John Owen praised Bryson for staying focused.
“He was patient and controlled the hands at the end,” Owen said. “The kid was really defensive. He didn’t wrestle to win. I thought we wrestled to win and that’s what won. We were working the whole time on the offense and he was working the whole time on the defense.”
While perhaps anticlimactic but not unappreciated, University’s powerful heavyweight, Tate Orndorff, cruised to a repeat.
Orndorff, who wrestles with the dexterity of a lightweight, pinned Austin Wright of Evergreen in 2:39.
“We’ve never had anybody dominate like he has,” U-Hi coach Don Owen said. “To pin as many kids as he has the last 2 years – it’s well over 100 for his career – is amazing. The last month he pinned everybody in the first period. We’ll be reading about him for a while. He’s going to be in the NCAA tournament for sure after he goes on his mission.”
Orndorff said the title was as special as last year. Also for a second straight year, his win vaulted U-Hi into a trophy in fourth. The Titans finished with 79 points.
“I’ve dedicated my life to this,” Orndorff said. “I’m excited to move on and wrestle in college.”
Moses Lake captured the team title with 117 points, four ahead of Lake Stevens.
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