Matt Classic XXIV: Five local wrestlers to watch

AMMON MORRILL

160 pounds | Sr., Snohomish

Morrill is the third of five brothers. The first four have each donned a Snohomish singlet (brother Peder was a freshman wrestler this season). A fifth-place finisher at Mat Classic in 2011, Morrill enters the tournament ranked No. 3 in the 160-pound weight class.

“He’s just a talented kid,” Snohomish coach Rob Zabel said. “He’s always in school plays and into music. It’s refreshing. A lot of times we get these kids that are one-dimensional and really pigeonhole themselves as far as, ‘I’m a wrestler.’”

Snohomish has seven wrestlers headed to Tacoma, but Morrill may have the best chance to bring home a title.

CHRIS JENKINS

106 pounds | Sr., Granite Falls

According to Granite Falls coach Tony Helgeson’s research, the Tigers have never had an individual state champion. It’s something Helgeson has been working hard to change. He’s even offered to buy the first a championship ring.

Jenkins, ranked fourth in his weight class, has the best chance of cashing in on that offer this season. After placing seventh last year, he’s shooting for a top-three finish in his final go-round.

Regardless of where Jenkins places, Helgeson said he hopes the young Tigers learn from his example.

“You wish as a coach that the next guy steps in and has the same personality and the same level of commitment,” Helgeson said. “It’s contagious, so it’s something that’s important to have on a successful team.”

CONNOR BOYCE

170 pounds | Sr., Everett

After Boyce placed second in the state at 160 pounds a year ago, Everett coach Brien Elliott needed to find a way to challenge his star in practice. The result: Boyce has been sharpening his technique by competing against adult coaches. Ranked No. 1 in his weight class, his ultimate goal is to stand atop the podium at the Tacoma Dome, just like his brother, Justin, did before him. Despite working tirelessly toward his goal, Boyce still finds time for teaching. His protege, sophomore Anthony Hawkins, will be in Tacoma as an alternate and Elliott credits Boyce.

“With Connor, I’ve really been impressed with his unselfishness and how he’s willing to help others and his dedication to the team,” Elliot said. “It’s been a real pleasure to see a senior that has everything on the line as far as college wrestling, scholarships and trying to win a state tournament. For a kid like that to think of others and work with others is real refreshing in today’s society.”

LAURA CHARBONEAU

265 pounds | Sr., Stanwood

Charboneau is undefeated and ranked No. 1 in her weight class. Her girls wrestling team enters the tournament ranked No. 5 in the state with a chance to take home the team title. Savannah Phillips (106 pounds), Casey Mather (112 pounds and cousin of Stanwood boys coach Ray Mather) and Ruthie Karlburg (137 pounds) are ranked in the top eight of their weight classes. Charboneau could be the best of the bunch. After placing fifth in 2010, she finished second in 2011.

BRANDON JOHNSON

285 pounds | Jr., Lake Stevens

Johnson enters this year’s tournament as the second-ranked wrestler in his weight class. He’s one of just four heavyweights in the tournament who have wrestled in Tacoma before. Johnson is one of four regional champions for Lake Stevens, along with Ryan Olliges (senior, 182 pounds), Kinsey Johnson (senior, 138 pounds) and Eric Soler (junior, 126 pounds). All four are ranked in the top three in their respective weight classes, and if all four make it to the finals, it would give Lake Stevens a chance to knock off the Mat Classic favorite (Mead) and defend its Class 4A state team title.

LOCAL WRESTLERS COMPETING

CLASS 4A — 106: David Garcia (K), Noah Cuzzetto (EW), Alex Rodrigo (LS); 113: Joshua Heitzman (K), Gino Obregon (Sno); 120: Steven Speer (Sno), Josh Langstaff (Stan); 126: Eric Soler (LS), Connor Gonzales (A), Killian Page (MP); 132: Greg Eagle (Sno), Christian Mendoza (MP), Scotty Bardell (A); 138: Kinsey Johnson (LS), Zac Duncan (Cas); 145: Matthew Cuzzetto (EW), Austin Gershmel (LS), Max Welsh (M); 152: Zach Schut (St); 160: Ammon Morrill (Sno), Shawn Berg (A); 170: Zach Perez (EW), Kyle Bennett (St); 182: Peter St. Marie (Sno), Ryan Olliges (LS), Chris Herbert (MP); 195: Blake McPherson (A), Nathan Proffitt (Sno); 220: Luke Reinhard (Sno), Shaquille Reed (LS); 285: Brandon Johnson (LS), George Johanson (EW).

CLASS 3A — 106: Luis Cardona (MG), Jeremy Vester (OH); 113: Jesus Escalona (SC), Christian Bagdadi (E); 120: Alex Basabe (L), Jahleel Vester (OH), Mathew Floresca (SW); 126: Zack Calkins (L), John Kim (GP), Cody Fakkema (OH); 132: Mark Johnston (OH), Jessie Lopez (E); 138: Timmy Douglass (GP); 145: Jacob Elledge (GP), Morgan Smith (Mead), Nate Tibbott (Mead); 152: Joshua Crebbin (OH), Hunter Lord (L); 170: Connor Boyce (E); 182: Sean Elledge (GP), Ric Stewart (E); 195: Chris Aiwiro (E), Ciaran Ball (Mead); 220: Ahmed Ahmed (L); 285: Ian Bolstad (SC), Alfredo Diaz (MG).

CLASS 2A — 106: Bailey McBride (C), Chris Jenkins (GF); 113: Ryan Nash (GF); 120: Tyler Groff (GF), Curtis Chittenden (C); 126: Ely Malametz (C); 145: Carlos Toledano (C), Austin Koons (C); 152: Eli Gremmert (C); 160: Cody Paxman (C); 170: Jake Naslund (Sult), Martin Vakamoce (C), Brandon Todd (AM); 182: Conner Kruse (AM); 195: Foster Wade (AM); 220: Taylor Comfort (Sult), Dakota Creed (AM); 285: Robby McNair (C).

GIRLS — 100: Brittany Tabor (Sult), Julie Mata (M), Justine Palabrica (E); 106: Savannah Phillips (St); 112: Danielle Crawford (GF), Casey Mather (St); 124: Brooke Dogett (St); 130: Allison Lawten (LW); 137: Ruthie Karlberg (St); 145: Jennifer Fremd (OH); 155: Kehla Grow (LS); 170: Brittany Johnston (OH); 265: Laura Charboneau (St).

Key — AM: Archbishop Murphy, A: Arlington, Cas: Cascade, C: Cedarcrest, EW: Edmonds-Woodway, E: Everett, GF: Granite Falls, GP: Glacier Peak, K: Kamiak, LW: Lakewood, LS: Lake Stevens, L: Lynnwood, M: Mariner, MP: Marysville Pilchuck, Mead: Meadowdale, OH: Oak Harbor, SC: Shorecrest, SW: Shorewood, Sno: Snohomish, St: Stanwood, Sult: Sultan.

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