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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Mat Classic 35: Liberty’s Maddex Strobel spearheading strong showing by Lancers

By Madison McCord For The Spokesman-Review

TACOMA – Liberty’s Maddex Strobel had mixed feelings about watching his brother, Ashton, win a Mat Classic title last year.

Although he was thrilled for his older sibling’s accomplishment, Strobel wanted more after his own third-place finish.

Now, he’s just one step away from his shot on the biggest stage after earning a spot in the semifinals after a bye and a pin during Friday’s 2A/1A/2B/1B opening rounds of the 35th Mat Classic at the Tacoma Dome.

“It was a really eye-opening experience seeing Ashton win, because before then I had always thought a state title was so far away for me,” Strobel said. “Seeing him do that made me push so much harder this year and push as hard as I could today.”

Strobel’s success was just part of a strong day for the Lancers, as all three of their state qualifiers advanced to Saturday’s semifinals. Joining Strobel in the semis is Clae Holling at Joey Matherly at 165 and 175 pounds, respectively.

“It’s hard sometimes not to get lost in the spectacle of this event, and I always have to remind the kids that it’s just another match,” Liberty coach Braden Davis said. “Our guys went 6 minutes at a time today, we weren’t looking ahead in the brackets. They just showed up and wrestled today.”

Although Strobel is keen to pave his own path as a champion, he said he will always lean on his brother’s championship experience.

“Ashton helping me out throughout the season has allowed me to reach the goals that I have been working toward,” Strobel said. “But I know the job is not done yet.”

For Davis, he hopes that the success of his three semifinalists only helps build the program at Liberty into a championship contender.

“This has been the process and goal since I started back in 2014,” Davis said. “Just getting that recognition and coming here to place at least top 10 in the state. That’s always the goal.”

After Friday, the Lancers are on the right path as they are tied for seventh at 33 points.

“It’s just going to come down to mental preparation tomorrow and making any tweaks we find to get everything right and be the next Liberty champion,” Strobel said.

Other area 2B/1B boys semifinalists include: 106: Micah Rocha, Northwest Christian; 113: Caiden Kassel, Liberty Launch Academy; 120: Wayland Holmberg, Davenport; 126: Cooper Phillips, Colfax; 132: Andrew Worden, Kettle Falls; Carson Kline, Reardan; 150: Jameson Davis, Selkirk; 157: Jared Haden, Chewelah; Deacon Medeiros, Kettle Falls and Everett Wood, Almira/Coulee-Hartline; 175: Dekota Acosta, Chewelah; 190: Brock Gustaveson, Davenport; 215: Noah Butler, Almira/Coulee-Hartline and Gabriel Smith, Lind-Ritzville; 285: Brock Tracy, Lind-Ritzville.

Saturday’s championship round is slated to start at 3:30 p.m.

Mead freshman Smith into first semifinals

“Small” is not the word most freshman wrestlers use to describe the Tacoma Dome.

But Mead’s Raenah Smith doesn’t wrestle like most freshman.

The 120-pounder tore through her 4A/3A girls bracket with a first-round bye and a pair of pins to reach the semifinals.

“I mean I’ve wrestled in some pretty big arenas in national tournaments, so this experience wasn’t anything I haven’t seen before,” Smith said.

Now Smith will turn her attentions to checking off the first of what she hopes are four state titles in her prep career.

“Winning a state title is the dream, winning four is the bigger dream,” Smith said. “But I know the first one is the hardest.”

Also seeking to check a box en route to becoming a four-timer is University junior Libby Roberts. Much like the past two years, Roberts had no problem disposing of her first two opponents, earning pins in less than four combined minutes.

• In the 2A/1A/2B/1B girls tournament, Rogers sophomore Savannah Taylor earned a semifinal berth at 105. Other area semifinalists include Anna Hume of Kettle Falls and Evelyn Phillips of Republic/Curlew at 130 pounds and Newport’s Madisen Pillers at 235.

Deer Park places four into semis

Led by seniors Gavin Carnahan and Liam Bogle, Deer Park surged into fourth place (45 points) in the 1A boys standings after the completion of the first day.

Carnahan (132) and Bogle (165) advanced to the semifinals, joined by juniors Brock Berger and Evan Henry at 144 and 175 pounds, respectively.

“Confidence is the biggest thing for us right now,” Carnahan said. “Wrestling is mostly mental, so to peak in the postseason requires confidence, which a lot of our guys have after strong district and regional finishes.”

Riverside added three semifinalists with Bodey Schweiger (106), Peter Desroches (157) and Tristian Davis (175). Lakeside also had a pair in Konnor Spradling (113) and Myles Christen (144). Freeman’s Jonah Orndorff (165) and Newport’s Ares Swain (215) are also into Saturday’s semifinals.

Lakeside is seventh in the team standings at 34 points, followed by Riverside in eighth with 31.5.