TACOMA – Shadle Park senior Dew Rogers was off the radar most of the season.
Shadle Park wasn’t at the Tri-State wrestling tournament, so those in the wrestling world hadn’t had a chance to see Rogers.
Once the postseason began, though, the 152-pound Rogers became a known entity.
And he’s at Mat Classic XXIX searching for a third straight state championship.
Rogers moved two blocks from Shadle Park in late September after winning two state championships in North Pole, Alaska.
He got off to a good start in the State 3A tournament Friday, winning twice to move into the semifinals.
North Pole is 20 miles from Fairbanks. His school had only 700 students – about the size of a 2A in Washington – but it was in Alaska’s largest classification.
“If you go there, you’ll see a Santa Claus house with a 40-foot tall Santa Claus statue and little reindeer,” Rogers said.
Rogers won by a 12-4 major decision and 5-2. He’s on a collision course to meet defending champ Bryan Wais of North Central in the final on Saturday.
Wais – who won by pin and 7-2 – edged Rogers 1-0 in the district final before Rogers evened the series with a 7-5 decision at regionals.
There could be a rubber match. Who’ll win?
“The world has a lot of control over stuff, I think,” Rogers said.
Rogers (34-1) isn’t focused on winning, he said.
“I really don’t think about winning; I just think about having fun,” he said. “If you focus on the win, you’re going to lose everything in between – the journey. That’s what you’re here for – the journey and to better yourself as a person. If I win I win, and if I lose I lose.”
Mt. Spokane advanced five into Saturday’s semifinals and NC kept four alive for a state title.
Joining Wais in the semis are Clayton Gilliam (120), Clai Quintanilla (132) and Gavin Gies (138).
Blake Haney of Mt. Spokane (113), who took second last year, needed a third-period reversal to move into the semis.
“He came up a few times and was trying to get legs, so I just felt it,” Haney said of the opportunity for a reversal. “He was pretty strong. I couldn’t get a whole bar. I need to push the pace more in the first period, for sure. I really want to win state. I’ve been working hard all year.”
Joining Haney in the semis are Jarret Sharp (106), Steven Hansen (120), Jake Howerton (126) and Mason Miethe (195).
Kamiakin leads with 77.5 points, just ahead of Kelso’s 77. Bonney Lake is third (65) followed by Yelm and NC with 52 each and Mt. Spokane (51).
Mead moved half of its qualifiers – five – into the semifinals.
Chase Tebbets (106), who took second as a freshman last year, Chase Randall (106), a freshman, Matt Jones (120), Devante Goodman (138) and Trevor Senn (182) had nice opening days.
In the quarterfinals, Tebbets opened with a takedown and had his opponent on his back for all but 6 seconds before getting a pin.
“It’s all a mind game, basically,” Tebbets said. “You have to go out with a good mindset and be the attacker.”
Central Valley moved three through in Bridger Beard (138), Braedon Orrino (145) and John Keiser (220).
Beard had a difficult quarterfinal, escaping with a 1-0 win.
University had a nice first round but stumbled in the quarterfinals. The Titans have teammates Caleb Thomas and Neftali Lopez at 195 and heavyweight Clayton Fincher who got through to the semifinals.
Tahoma leads with 73 points, Curtis is next at 68 and Mead is in third with 57.5.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.