By David Pan Weekly Herald sports editor
In what Edmonds-Woodway coach Brian Alfi regards as the toughest region in the state, brothers Matthew and Noah Cuzzetto both faced major challenges in their respective finals.
The Cuzzetto brothers overcame those challenges to emerge as champions at the 4A Region 1 wrestling tournament Feb. 11 at Cavelero Mid High School in Everett.
Junior Matthew Cuzzetto trailed Mariner’s Max Well by two points with about 30 seconds left in the 145-pound championship match. Cuzzetto then pulled a reverse on Well and finally put his opponent on his back to pull out a thrilling 8-5 decision.
“It feels good,” said Cuzzetto, who finished eighth at state last year. “I’ve always wanted to go into state as a good seed.”
Alfi is used to watching Cuzzetto in close matches.
“He’s such a competitor,” Alfi said. “The last 30 seconds was pretty high drama. He has a flair for the dramatic. Since he’s been a freshman he’s finds himself in all these close matches.”
Matthew’s younger brother, Noah Cuzzetto, who pinned all his opponents at the district tournament, found himself in a rematch against his district finals opponent, Kamiak’s David Garcia.
This time the 106-pound finals was far tougher. Noah Cuzzetto still prevailed 3-0.
“It was a lot closer match,” Cuzzetto said. “He knew how to wrestle me.”
Cuzzetto scored a takedown to take a 2-0 lead and later was awarded a point after Garcia was given two cautions and a stall warning.
“I feel great,” Cuzzetto said. “I’m ready to be there (state). My goal is to be in the finals and to win it. … It’s going to be tough.”
Mat Classic XXIV is scheduled for Feb. 17-18 at the Tacoma Dome. Noah Cuzzetto is scheduled to face Tahoma’s Todd Link in a first-round match at 10 a.m., Feb. 17. Matthew Cuzzetto takes on Roosevelt’s Willie Spurr at 11:30 a.m.
Edmonds-Woodway finished fifth overall with Union taking the team title and Lake Stevens placing second. Alfi noted that the four teams that were ahead of the Warriors (including Evergreen of Vancouver and Snohomish) are ranked in the top 10 in state and Arlington and Marysville-Pilchuck are in the top 15. Edmonds-Woodway is ranked 10th.
“It was an unbelievable competition,” Alfi said. “Any kid who made it through this region has to feel really confident about being a state placer.”
Also qualifying for state were Edmonds-Woodway’s Zack Perez (second at 170) and George Johanson (third at 285). Teammates Collin Natterstad (fifth at 152) and Kris Delaney (fifth at 195) are alternates.