Returning wrestling champs are marked men at state
Four local guys return to Mat Classic with a target on their backs
As a tiny freshman, Noah Cuzzetto was one of the smallest wrestlers at Mat Classic in 2011. In 2012, he was a shade bigger, but carried himself a bit more confidently coming in as the No. 1 ranked 4A lightweight in the state.
This year he stepped up a weight class as well as his physique is bigger and now carries the weight of expectations. Not only did Cuzzetto win the 106-pound crown as a sophomore, but as a junior he plowed through in-state regular season competition. This season he lost only a single bout to an out-of-state competitor by two points.
"I'm not a little pudgy kid any more," Cuzzetto said. He has his sights set on another gold medal this week. "Definitely going in to get the second title," Cuzzetto said. "I'm confident that I could win. Not overly confident because I know that anybody could beat me."
That anybody could include Yelm's Darren Harris. The sophomore, who won a 3A state title last year, faced Cuzzetto for the first time in regionals and nearly pinned Cuzzetto in the third period on the way to a 6-5 loss. Expect both to advance for another showdown in Tacoma.
Now wrestling at 145-pounds, Lopez won the 132-pound championship a year ago. Lopez is wrestling up because he wanted a shot at Enumclaw's Lucas Somera, who is a two-time defending state champ. But Somera suffered a concussion at districts and won't wrestle at Mat Classic, making Lopez the favorite in his weight class.
At last year's Mat Classic, Elledge scored an 8-0 major decision over top-ranked Phil Frazier of Mercer Island at 182 pounds to win the title. This year, the Grizzlies senior goes in as the favorite in the same weight class after having little problem at districts or regionals.
Then a junior, Soler overcame ACL reconstruction to defeat two previously undefeated wrestlers -- both of which were state champions in 2010 -- in the semifinals and finals of the 126-pound weightclass to take the state championship. This year Soler is the No. 1 ranked wrestler in the 145-pound division going into Mat Classic.
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