The Mat Classic got off to a great start for Dylan Ingram.
The Camas High School junior pinned Yelm’s Noah Littlefield and shut out Calhoun Helmberger, of Curtis, 3-0 Friday to advance to Saturday’s semifinal round in the 4A 220-pound bracket.
Rylan Thompson couldn’t have imagined a worse start to the Mat Classic. After placing sixth as a freshman, he was thinking semifinals and then finals. He never considered losing the first round, but that’s exactly what happened when Conner Snow, of Snohomish, took the Camas sophomore down in the final seconds to win 6-4.
Thompson bounced back in a big way. He won five matches in a row to finish in third place. Three spots higher than last year.
“I should have never lost to that kid. After that, I was nervous I wouldn’t place. But something clicked, and I turned it on,” Thompson said. “Now I know, that first match is important. One match at a time.”
Ingram hit a snag in the semifinals when he lost 1-0 to Levi McBride, of Chiawana. The Papermaker rebounded with his biggest win of the tournament by defeating Freddie Green, of Spanaway Lake, 12-4. This gave Ingram an opportunity to wrestle for third place instead of fifth. He ran into Helmberger again in the consolation finals, and shut him down again 4-0.
“I wrestled smart. All the preparing and conditioning I did all season long paid off,” Ingram said. “I was one or two points away from wrestling in the finals. I’m going to get those one or two points back in my preparation for next year.”
The finest six minutes of the Mat Classic for the Camas wrestlers and coaches was seeing both Ingram and Thompson wrestling for third place at the same time.
Ingram got the job done, but didn’t leave until Thompson finished the deal. At the end of a grueling state tournament, both Papermakers got their hand raised.
“It was a really cool moment,” Ingram said.
Thompson talked about his teammates. How Tanner Craig won his first round match as a freshman, just like he did. And how Dominic Delgado, Tanner Howington, Sam Malychewski, Jack Latimer and Lacy Dunlop kept wrestling for Papermaker pride.
“From watching this level of competition, they know the work they have to put in,” Thompson said. “This is something we are always going to remember.”