TACOMA – Drew Roberts has a unique accomplishment in his sights.
Last year, as a freshman at Crescent Valley High School in Corvallis, Roberts won the Oregon 5A 113-pound state wrestling championship.
Saturday at the Tacoma Dome, Roberts, now a sophomore at University, has a chance to add the Washington 4A 126-pound title to his list of accomplishments.
“That would be pretty cool. That’s my main goal,” said Roberts, ranked fourth by Washington Wrestling Report.
Roberts, the son of former Oregon State assistant coach Kevin Roberts – the first state champion U-Hi’s Don Owen coached in the early 1990s – shut out both his opponents in Friday’s opening rounds in Mat Classic XXXI.
He scored a 16-0 technical fall over Issaquah sophomore Thomas Brown, then came back to shut out Curtis’ Evan Janson 11-0, after a scoreless first period.
“It’s tough to keep up a hard pace for 6 minutes,” Roberts said of ultimately wearing down Janson.
Despite his success, Roberts said the level of wrestling is higher in Washington than it was in Oregon.
“The competition is a little tougher and the arena is a lot bigger,” he said. “There’s a few top-level wrestlers in Oregon. They still fight, but there are more medium-level or not-as-good guys.”
The Tacoma Dome is larger than the Portland Convention Center on a typical day, but Friday was unique in Washington prep sports history. The 2,493 wrestlers who took part in the first day after the cancellation of regional meets because of severe snowstorms last week are likely the most competitors at a single Washington Interscholastic Activities Association event.
Saturday , when Roberts wrestles Tahoma’s third-ranked Austin Michalski in the quarterfinals, might be a bit less hectic. Roberts’ game plan will be a simple one.
“I’ll just go out and wrestle my match, stick to the stuff I usually do,” he said.
“It’s great to have Drew in our program. He’s a great kid who works extremely hard,” Owen said. “What’s really been a bonus is his dad helping coach. Kevin’s been great with a lot of our younger kids.”
Mead – paced by potential three-time state champion Chase Tebbets at 132 – stayed close in the team competition, with 69 points, good for second behind first-day leader Chiawana.
Tebbets moved into the quarterfinals with a pair of pins, dropping sophomore Antonio Ramos of Pasco in 51 seconds before stopping another sophomore, sixth-ranked Austin Villanueva of Sunnyside, midway through the second period.
He’ll meet Mount Vernon’s ninth-ranked Kirill Chirva in Saturday’s quarterfinals.
Mt. Spokane, ranked first in the Washington Wrestling Report team poll, overcame an early surge by Edmonds-Woodway to grab the team lead in 3A with 84 points, two ahead of a deep Yelm team and nine over the Warriors.
Defending champion Blake Haney at 138 led five Wildcats into the quarterfinals with a pair of pins inside of 2 minutes.
The senior flattened Mark McKee of Central Kitsap in 1:34, then finished off Mountain View sophomore Diego Quintero in 1:38.
“I’m just trying to stay focused and wrestle my best,” Haney said.
He’ll meet Franklin senior Luke Hauser, ranked 10th in the state, in the quarterfinals.
Mason Miethe, top-ranked at 182, also recorded a pair of pins for Mt. Spokane, downing Jacob Waltermeyer of Timberline in 49 seconds and Mountain View’s ninth-ranked Zachry Curry in 3:03.
“I felt good, my warmup went well, my weight was good,” Miethe said. “(Saturday) I need to stay focused, hit solid stuff, nothing funky.”
As for the 32-man brackets this time around, Miethe said, “I prefer to wrestle regionals, but this gives me a chance to score more points, our team a chance to score more points.”
Mt. Spokane’s Jarrett Sharp (113), Ky Haney (132) and Casey Howerton (138) also reached the quarterfinals.
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