By Aaron Lommers Herald Writer
TACOMA — Pretty soon Darrington High School is going to need some more vans.
The Loggers wrestling team is used to taking one van to the Tacoma Dome and loading it up with all the team’s equipment, coaches and wrestlers. It’s not hard to do when just a couple wrestlers qualify for the state tournament.
In recent years, those numbers have grown. A year ago, the Loggers were able to bring a second van. This year they added a third. Added room was made in the third van for the wrestling managers and cheerleaders.
“Everybody is just sandwiched in a van,” Loggers head coach Andy West said.
West noted that one of the vans doesn’t have a bucket seat for the driver, making a very cozy front bench for the coaching staff.
The Loggers qualified six boys, one girl and three alternates for this year’s Mat Classic.
“It’s getting to be a big sport in Darrington,” West said. “We’re actually getting new mats. We’re just getting bigger.”
West started as an assistant coach at Darrington in 2006 and took over as head coach in 2011. Every year since West has taken over as head coach the number of wrestlers qualifying for the state tournament has increased.
Under West the Loggers have gone from getting just two or three kids to qualify for state to having two kids advance all the way to championship matches, 195-pounder Lane Monteith and 220-pounder Mason McKenzie.
Floresca flourishes in tough 126-pound division
Advancing to the state championship match as the No. 1-ranked wrestler in a given weight class is often times expected more than it is celebrated.
In the 3A 126-pound division, a celebration — at least a small one — might be in order.
Shorewood’s Matthew Floresca advanced to Saturday night’s state-championship match against University’s Cam Sorensen, the No. 2 ranked wrestler in the state, by pinning Auburn Mountanview’s Dylan Foley in the semifinals.
Floresca is the highest returning finisher at 126 pounds, placing second at last year’s Mat Classic. But that doesn’t mean Floresca was the only wrestler in the division to compete for a championship. He is joined by three other state finalists who came up just short a year ago: Sorensen at 113 pounds, Mount Spokane’s Kiegan Schauer at 120 and Stanwood’s West Weinart at 106.
“All of those guys came up short last year and are looking for that state title,” Shorewood head coach Derek Norton said. “I don’t think they give a hoot (about the rankings) other than that they’re going to scout us out to try to beat us. Other than that I don’t think they think we are any more qualified than they are.
“It’s a pretty even playing field.
There are four additional wrestlers in the 16-man field that placed in the top-seven in their respective weight classes at last year’s state championships.
Floresca got a wake-up call in Friday’s quarterfinal, needing sudden-death overtime to beat Andrew Ramirez, the No. 4 ranked 3A 126-pounder in the state according to Washington Wrestling Report. Floresca’s escape just seconds into the sudden-death period clinched the victory and a berth in the semifinals.
Floresca admitted after the match that he might have been overconfident and looked over his opponent. He didn’t make the same mistake in the semifinals, pinning the ninth-ranked Foley with one second remaining in the first period.
Crawford falls in semis
Granite Falls 112-pounder Danielle Crawford didn’t win a state championship on Saturday, but she did stay alive for a championship longer than any other girl in the area.
Crawford pinned her first two opponents to advance to the semifinals to face Thomas Jefferson freshman Jasmine Pleasants in one of the first matches of the day. Crawford came into state with a 19-9 records, but of those nine losses, Pleasants is the only girl in the Crawford’s weight class to beat her.
Saturday she did it again, Pleasants’ 10-2 victory in the semifinals earned her a spot in the state championship. Crawford went on to finish fifth.
Other local girls to medal were: Meadowdale’s Dee Dee Free, who finished third at 190 pounds, Oak Harbor’s Amber Cramsey-Behnke at 235, who also finished third, Darrington’s Elesha Forrest, who finished fifth at 106 and Stanwood’s Brooke Dogget, who came in sixth at 145.
Wesco was well represented this weekend at the Tacoma Dome. Nineteen Wesco 3A and 4A competitors went on to advance to the state semifinals and of those 19, nine advanced to the state championships. Lake Stevens had three state finalists, while six other schools each had one … Nine is a lot, but there could have been more. Stanwood’s Anthony Ortega, Arlington’s Jeremy Nygard, Lake Stevens’ Alex Rodorigo and Jake Douglas, and Kamiak’s Tyler Webley all lost their semifinal matches by two points or less … Though Wesco suffered some close losses, there were a few who narrowly advanced to final as well. Marysville Pilchuck’s Killian Page and Meadowdale’s Ciaran Ball each won their semifinal by a point and Edmonds-Woodway’s Nathan Vulliet needed overtime to earn his 3-1 victory over Mead’s Wyatt Nemec and advance to Saturday night’s championship … Page’s teammate Drew Hatch came into the tournament as the No. 1-ranked 3A 170-pounder, but lost a close quarterfinal match to Southridge’s Bryce Overholt. Hatch, who lost 8-5 in the first match, got revenge by beating Overholt 15-7 for third place.
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on twitter @aaronlommers and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.