AUBURN — Last year, John Linari was a spectator at Mat Classic. He could only wonder how it felt to compete in the prestigious state wrestling championships.
In 2010, the Kamiak High School senior will find out firsthand.
Battling through a knee injury, Linari barely outlasted his foe in a winner-to-state, loser-out fifth-place match Saturday during the Class 4A Region 1 Wrestling Tournament. By edging Marysville-Pilchuck junior Marcus Haughian 6-4 in a 152-pound consolation final, Linari placed fifth.
The top five finishers in each weight division qualified for Mat Classic next weekend at the Tacoma Dome. Sixth-place finishers are state alternates.
It will be the first state appearance for Linari, who was eliminated last season at regionals. This time at the regional, Linari edged M-P’s Haughian twice during the two-day tournament. In the final, Haughian’s two-point takedown tied it at 4-4 with 32 seconds to go. Twelve seconds later, Linari scored a tie-breaking two-point reversal and hung on for the season-extending win.
“In my mind I was like, ‘This could be potentially the last wrestling match of your life.’ So I just dug deep and put all my energy into that last move,” said Linari, who injured his left knee in his final match at the district meet on Feb. 6. But he was medically cleared and held up well enough to advance to state.
Squads from the Western Conference and the South Puget Sound League North Division battled in the grueling 23-team regional tournament. The competition featured eight of the state’s top-ranked individuals and three of the Washington’s top five 4A teams (No. 1 Tahoma, No. 3 Lake Stevens and No. 5 Auburn), according to WashingtonWrestlingReport.com.
Led by three individual champions, Tahoma scored 197.5 points and won the team title. Three-time defending state champion Lake Stevens was second with 172 points, followed by Auburn (147) and No. 13 Snohomish (127.5).
Lake Stevens also had three individual champs — Josh Heinzer (112 pounds), Ryan Rodorigo (119 pounds) and Steven Walkley (135 pounds) — but the Vikings will send seven grapplers to Mat Classic, three fewer than Tahoma.
“They’ve got a lot of numbers,” Lake Stevens assistant coach Andy Knutson said of Tahoma, “and I they’re going to be really difficult to catch (at state).”
The elimination of junior Andrew King was a surprise for Lake Stevens. King was ranked No. 5 in the state but was knocked out after going 1-2. The final defeat was against Oak Harbor senior Colton Elliot, who pinned King and eventually placed fifth.
Auburn and Snohomish both had seven state qualifiers. Snohomish’s Eric Kalmey (125 pounds) and Micah Morrill (160 pounds) won individual titles.
The other local first-place finisher was Mariner junior Alex Coffman, who beat Arlington’s Dustin Ward 9-5 in the 152-pound final.
For the second straight week, Snohomish’s Kalmey beat Edmonds-Woodway’s Mac Hutchison in the 125 finals. At the district meet in Marysville Kalmey prevailed with a 15-6 major decision. On Saturday he won a 17-10 decision.
Hutchison wants one more rematch against Kalmey, with a state title up for grabs.
“Hopefully I can meet him in the finals again,” said Hutchison.
E-W was one of the more surprising teams in the regional. The unranked Warriors placed fifth with 90 points and will send five wrestlers to state.
Guided by first-year head coach Joe Trieu, E-W had just three experienced seniors when the season began but steadily improved and had young competitors progress drastically, Trieu said.
On Saturday, Hutchison (125 pounds), Andrew Vulliet (112 pounds) and Ryan Deweese (130 pounds) placed second. All three are juniors.
Before the finals, Marysville-Pilchuck coach Craig Iversen was named the 4A Region 1 coach of the year and Lake Stevens’ Heinzer, a two-time state champion, was named the region’s wrestler of the year.
At Auburn H.S.
Team scores (state qualifiers in parentheses): 1. Tahoma 197.5 points (10), 2. Lake Stevens 172 (7), 3. Auburn 147 (7), 4. Snohomish 127.5 (7), 5. Edmonds-Woodway 90 (5), 6. Kent Meridian 89 (5), tie-7. Kentwood (4), Arlington 81.5 (5), 9. Marysville-Pilchuck 70.5 (3), 10. Kentlake 63 (4), 11. Monroe 60.5 (2), 12. Thomas Jefferson 56 (3), 13. Mariner 45 (2), 14. Kamiak 44 (2), 15. Cascade 29 (0), 16. Stanwood 25 (1), 17. Oak Harbor 23 (1), 18. Shorewood 21.5 (1), 19. Kentridge 20 (1), 20. Mountlake Terrace 15 (0), 21. Jackson 7 (0), 22. Auburn Riverside 5 (0), 23. Federal Way 0 (0).
The top five finishers in each weight division qualified for Mat Classic (Feb. 19-20 at the Tacoma Dome). Sixth-place finishers will be state alternates.
103-Navejas (Kentwood) dec. Hopkins (Tahoma) 7-4; 112-Heinzer (LS) pinned Vulliet (E-W) 4:20; 119-Rodorigo (LS) dec. Leach (Shorewood) 2-1; 125-Kalmey (Snohomish) dec. Hutchison (E-W) 17-10; 130-Maughan (Auburn) dec. Deweese (E-W) 9-3; 135-Walkley (LS) major dec. Higa (Tahoma) 12-1; 140-Lamb (Tahoma) pinned Hayden (Tahoma) 0:46; 145-McIntosh (Jefferson) pinned Cavanagh (Kentlake) 1:46; 152-Coffman (Mariner) dec. Ward (Arlington) 9-5; 160-Micah Morrill (Snohomish) dec. Anderson (LS) 5-0; 171-Rutledge (Auburn) dec. Mark Morrill (Snohomish) 4-3; 189-Bayer (Tahoma) major dec. Grow (LS) 15-5; 215-Knudtsen (Tahoma) dec. Young (Auburn) 5-3; 285-Herrick (Kentwood) dec. Conlan (Auburn) 2-1.
103-Valdez (KM) dec. Soler (LS) 6-5; 112-Farr (Kentlake) dec. Peterson (Kentwood) 3-2; 119-Marlowe (Kentlake) dec. Mjelde (Tahoma) 8-4; 125-Blevins (M-P) dec. Hernandez (Kentwood) 4-1; 130-Shumaker (M-P) dec. Pineda (Auburn) 5-2; 135-Regan (Kamiak) dec. Mukomol (Jefferson) 6-2; 140-Smith (KM) dec. Donaldson (M-P) 7-3; 145-Perry (Snohomish) pinned Shortt (Arlington) 2:11; 152-Ota (Tahoma) technical fall Dimaggio (Monroe) 17-1; 160-Lemmon (KM) dec. Seid (Kentridge) 7-6 OT; 171-Barzie (KM) dec. Perez (E-W) 7-4; 189-Gee (Stanwood) dec. Williams (Jefferson) 3-1 OT; 215-Atkinson (KM) dec. Quinton (Arlington) 5-3; 285-Shelton (Auburn) major dec. Maybin (Snohomish) 9-1.
103-Bates-Mundell (Snohomish) pinned Peterson (LS) 2:32; 112-Reynolds (LS) major dec. Krafft (Kamiak) 10-0; 119-Cuzzetto (E-W) dec. Quinteiro (MT); 125-Haniger (Tahoma) dec. Aliment (Kentridge) 3-2 OT; 130-Faizoullin (Kentlake) dec. Curnutt (Monroe) 7-1; 135-Milat (Tahoma) dec. A. Morrill (Snohomish) 4-3; 140-Elliot (OH) pinned Strickland (Kamiak) 4:18; 145-Garcia (Auburn) pinned Parker (Mariner) 2:36; 152-Linari (Kamiak) dec. Haughian (M-P) 6-4; 160-Thody (Snohomish) dec. Johnson (Jefferson) 8-5; 171-Henderson (Arlington) pinned P. St. Marie (Cascade) 3:29; 189-Kroshko (Mariner) dec. Reinhart (KM) 4-2; 215-Ingersoll (Monroe) dec. Johnson (LS) 3-2; 285-Torve (Arlington) pinned T. St. Marie (Cascade) 3:33.
Mike Cane: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out the prep sports blog Double Team at www.heraldnet.com/doubleteam.