TACOMA – Central Valley senior Braedon Orrino overcame himself and the anxiety baggage that dogged him throughout high school Saturday at Mat Classic XXIX.
Orrino was on point, dominating for an 8-1 decision at 145 pounds to finish his career as a State 4A champion.
It was as if Orrino decided from the moment the referee blew his whistle to start the match that he wasn’t going to freeze up. He got a takedown in three seconds.
Moments later he got another takedown for a 4-1 lead going into the second period.
“I definitely killed every demon that I had chasing me,” Orrino said, smiling. “I can’t put it into words.”
CV assistant coach Tracy Niles sat with Orrino in the locker room under the bleachers in the cavernous Tacoma Dome before his semifinal and final matches. Orrino didn’t come out until three minutes before the matches.
“(He) just had me relax until I was up on deck so I wasn’t surrounded by all of this (pointing to crowd) and draining me.”
Orrino became anxious at regionals. He took third. The wrestler who beat him placed fifth and the regional champ took third.
The thought going through Orrino’s head near the end of the match was about victory.
“You know you won and all you want to do is smile,” he said. “It’s a good feeling.”
Equally relieved was Orrino’s coach, Brian Owen.
“Getting to the final finally opened him up,” Owen said. “The thing I liked was he was looking for the last point in the last second even though he was kicking the kid’s butt. I’m very proud of him.”
Mead took third thanks to state champions Chase Tebbets (106) and Trevor Senn (182).
Tebbets, a sophomore, finished runner-up last year. He used a reversal with 25 seconds left in the match for a 2-0 win.
And he had a joyous embrace with his father, assistant coach Jason Tebbets.
“I just wanted it so bad,” Chase said. “I was hurting and really tired and tried to push through.”
Tebbets had beaten Robby Vaughn of Chiawana twice and lost once to him previously this season.
“State finals,” Tebbets said of the tense final. “It’s a lot more nerve wracking. You’ve just got to go out there and do what you can do to get the win.”
Mead coach Phil McLean knew it would be a tight match.
“They’re grubby and tough to score on,” McLean said of the finalists. “They have good grit and don’t give up things.”
McLean was tickled for Tebbets.
“He’s been with me and our program since he was a little peanut,” McLean said.
Senn reversed a 7-6 regional loss for a 5-4 win.
“He really controlled the ties last time,” Senn said. “So I controlled the ties and got off my shots and it worked.”
Senn took third last year.
“It hasn’t quite hit me yet but it’s amazing,” Senn said. “This has been the goal the whole season. I wasn’t taking a loss here at all. There was no choice for me.”
Tahoma captured the team title, finishing with 158 points. Curtis was second with 145 and Mead had 124.5.
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