TACOMA – State champions walk away from Mat Classic with first-place medals.
Wrestlers who fall short of the podium’s top step sometimes walk away with something more powerful: Motivation.
Both East Valley’s Winston Scott and Deer Park’s Gabe Sanchez felt the sting of defeat a year ago. Scott reached the 2A finals at 182 pounds but lost to Diego Gallegos of Lindbergh 8-4. Sanchez pushed his 1A semifinal match at 285 pounds into the third round but was pinned and wound up finishing fifth.
Friday at Mat Classic XXX at the Tacoma Dome, both built momentum for Saturday’s semifinals with dominant quarterfinal victories.
Scott opened the tournament with a 51-second pin of North Kitsap’s Josh Snider, then recorded a technical fall over Highline’s Eli Warner to advance to the semifinals. He’ll face DJ Guzman of Othello.
“That’s the kind of performance we get out of Winston every time,” East Valley coach Craig Hanson said. “You could tell he was frustrated he didn’t get the pin. He’s on a mission here. He’s got tons of motivation after losing in the finals last year.”
Scott’s frustration grew over the summer when he came within a single victory of placing at Greco-Roman nationals, increasing his desire to make his senior season count.
“It sucked getting second last year,” Scott said. “I got a gym membership and started working out a lot more.”
Sanchez, also a senior, started his day with a late pin of Elma’s AJ Hernandez, then shut out Ryder Eilers of Royal 6-0 to move into a semifinal against Nathan Flores of Forks.
The frustration of getting pinned in last season’s semifinals has haunted Sanchez ever since.
“It’s all of my motivation,” he said. “I think about that match every time I lose or every time I have a close match. It makes me want to work that much harder. I started going a lot harder in my weight training class and a lot harder on cardio in the wrestling room.”
Deer Park led the 1A team standings at the end of first-day action with 82 points, seven ahead of second-place Forks. Six Stags reached the semifinals.
In addition to Sanchez, junior 120-pounder Everett Pierce and senior 220-pounder Amir Nuriddeen each pinned two opponents. Senior Weston Dean and junior Brent Hodgson will face each other for the 152-pound crown. Matt Jorgenson joins Pierce in the 120 semis but will not match up with him.
“The kids have had a good day,” Stags assistant coach Keith Stamps said. “We had a couple of moments where we could have had a really good day. It should be a pretty good race tomorrow. Three or four teams had really good days. It should be a lot of fun tomorrow.”
Dean and Hodgson squaring off gives Deer Park’s coaching staff a nice problem to have – a guaranteed spot in the finals, but one of their wrestlers going home disappointed.
“For the most part we’ll let them wrestle,” Stamps said. “They both earned the right to be in the state semifinal.”
On the girls mats, Liberty freshman Maizy Feltwell opened with a 5-0 decision before winning her quarterfinal bout with a second-period fall. West Valley’s Jasmine Fryer also booked a semifinal appearance with a pair of first-day pins.
Other area wrestlers who also will compete in the 1A semifinals include: Jun Figueredo, Medical Lake, 113; Hunter Nees, Freeman, 120; Alex Gonzalez, Medical Lake, 126; Ethan Davis, Medical Lake, 132; Nolan Doloughan, Freeman, 138; Logan Holt, Freeman, 138; Trevor Morrison, Colville, 152; Jared Lenz, Riverside, 160; Cordy Tardanico, Freeman 170; Kaden Krouse, Chelewah, 170; Sammy Desroches, Riverside, 170; Brandon Iris, Freeman, 182; Skyler Gordon, Chelewah, 182; John Knight, Colville, 182; Scout Walker, Colville, 195; Akio Yamada, Lakeside, 195; and Garrett Trevino, Freeman, 220.
In 2B/1B: Kolby Sisk, Colfax, 106; Cory Perryman, Reardan, 106; Nolan Burrill, Colfax, 113; Ethan Hull, Reardan, 120; Ryan Issakides, Selkirk, 126; Caleb Cole, Reardan, 138; Rylan Anderson, Reardan, 145; Gunnar Hilderbrandt, Republic, 145; Thomas Perryman, Reardan, 152; Hunter Carman, Selkirk, 160; Dane Hall, Colfax, 170; Ozius Harden, Reardan, 170; Glenn Johnson, Liberty, 182; Ethan Landt, Reardan, 182; Cole Rossman, Wilbur-Creston, 220; Hunter Dawley, Reardan, 285; and Charlie Harrington, Liberty, 285.
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