To be one of the 1,300 wrestlers competing for a medal this weekend, at Mat Classic XXIII inside the Tacoma Dome, is the thrill of a lifetime.
Only five Washougal High School wrestlers, and four from Camas, get to experience it. Leading the way for the Panthers are seniors John Barrette, Brendan Casey, Michael Huck, LaDwana Jurgens and Chism King.
“If you let down at all at state, you’re not going to be able to come out with a win,” said WHS head coach John Carver. “When this weekend is over, we want every Washougal wrestler to know they gave all they had and that they didn’t hold anything back.”
Representing the Papermakers will be senior Miguel Salamanca, junior Tyler Weiss, and sophomores Taryn Lommasson and Chris Scott.
“These kids have demonstrated an ability to rise to the top during these tough tournaments, and continue to wrestle well,” said CHS head coach Glenn Hartman. “We’ll just keep counting the scores, and hope we’re ahead.”
Casey captured second place for the Panthers in the 160-pound bracket of the 2A regional tournament Saturday, at Tumwater High School. Barrette beat Sean Koreis of W.F. West 9-6 for third place at 160 pounds.
“I told Brendan and John they made history by becoming the first two Washougal wrestlers to qualify for state from the same weight class,” Carver said. “All we can ask is that both of them bring home a state medal.”
Huck beat W.F. West’s Zach Braun 10-0 for third place at 140 pounds. King defeated Will Bardezbain of W.F. West 5-2 for third place at 112 pounds. Matt Wilson (152) pounds and Trevor Johnson (285) finished fifth in their respective brackets to become state alternates.
“Trevor Johnson had his best tournament of the season at the right time, and that gives him the opportunity to go to state for the first time as a senior,” Carver said. “We’re glad that Matt Wilson gets to be a part of the group that’s going to state because he’s the only one who’s coming back for us. The rest are all seniors.”
Jurgens took third for Washougal in the 152-pound bracket of the girls regional tournament Saturday, at Hoquiam High School. Lommasson finished fourth for Camas at 103 pounds.
Salamanca and Prairie’s Travis Addy ran into each other again in the 140-pound finals of the 3A regional tournament Saturday, at Bonney Lake High School. Salamanca led 3-0 before Addy scored a dramatic pin fall victory in the second round. Hartman hopes for one more rematch between these two rivals at state.
“It’s a new tournament, and there are a lot of solid kids out there,” he said. “If Miguel can make it to the finals again, hopefully Travis will be waiting for him.”
Despite losing 6-4 in the 135-pound semifinals, Hartman said Weiss held his own against defending state champion James Bradley of Yelm. Weiss responded by beating Capital’s David Griffith (7-0) and Bonney Lake’s Matt Yuste (injury default) for third place.
“He proved to himself that he can hang with anybody,” Hartman said. “As long as he can stay close, he can win most of his matches.”
Scott finished fourth at 285 pounds. Hartman said the sophomore has come a long ways from being ineligible to compete as a freshman.
“You can see it on his face how proud he is of himself,” Hartman said. “It shows how sports can carry over to other successes in life.”
The Mat Classic kicks off Friday morning, at 10 a.m. Several rounds of wrestling lead to the championship finals Saturday night. The top eight wrestlers in each weight class earn state medals.