Lake Stevens contender forced to injury default at Mat Classic

Vikings junior 285-pounder Devin Kylany hurt his knee during a quarterfinal loss.

TACOMA — Lake Stevens junior 285-pounder Devin Kylany injured his left knee on Gonzaga Prep’s Darius Johnson’s foot sweep in the third period of their quarterfinal bout.

Kylany has scholarship offers from Washington State and Arizona State to play on the offensive line, and was attempting to add a state wrestling championship to his growing list of football accolades.

Kylany led the match 1-0 at the time of the injury, and the takedown that resulted from the footsweep was the difference in the 2-1 decision.

Kylany tried to wrestle his ensuing consolation bout against Enumclaw’s Ryder Popke with a heavily wrapped and iced knee, but was unable to continue after Popke registered an early takedown.

Kylany was helped off the mat with the assistance of Lake Stevens assistant coach Matt Leonard, who is also Kylany’s defensive line coach on the Vikings football team.

The injury marred an otherwise successful night for the Vikings, who after two years of uncharacteristic struggles in search of their 12th 4A team championship, placed eight of their 20 wrestlers in the 4A field into Saturday’s quarterfinal round.

Lake Stevens will enter Saturday in third place in the team standings, just three behind second-place Mead. Chiawana leads with 83 points.

Freshmen unfazed by Mat Classic stage

To a select few freshmen wrestlers, their first Mat Classic is just another big tournament.

The proliferation of huge off-season freestyle and Greco-Roman tournaments, as well as club folkstyle events, have reduced the awe and anxiety an elite wrestler might feel when entering the Tacoma Dome, with its 24 mats and its tendency to become an echo chamber of cacophonous sounds.

Meadowdale 170-pounder Saul Hernandez and Edmonds-Woodway’s Ethan Nguyen (106) and Alex Rapelje (120) eased into the quarterfinals in their respective Mat Classic debuts, as each freshman pinned both of his opponents Friday.

All three wrestlers have been dedicated to the sport from a very young age, and have competed in large venues and in large fields.

That experience contributes to the icy confidence with which they perform.

“I was a little bit anxious, but not much,” said Rapelje after a second-period pin of Shorewood’s Aidan Jung in his first-round bout Friday. “I’ve wrestled in a lot of big tournaments, so I’m used to this.”

Edmonds-Woodway coach Brian Alfi said Rapelje and Nguyen, who didn’t require more than one period to pin his two foes Friday, are battle-tested beyond their years.

“Not only have they wrestled in big tournaments, they’ve wrestled in the Tacoma Dome before in youth events, so they’re familiar with what it’s like in here,” Alfi said. “This is normally the biggest stage that most high school kids wrestle on. These moments aren’t too big for them.”

The same is true for Hernandez, and Meadowdale coach Josh Knowles said Hernandez told him Friday that he felt comfortable in the Dome.

“It really is just another match for him,” Knowles said. “The wrestlers that don’t do all the off-season stuff that he does wouldn’t have that comfort as a freshman.”

Stars survive stern second-round tests

A host of top-flight area 3A wrestlers were pushed to the limit in second-round matches Friday, but proved their championship mettle to survive and advance.

Arlington 106-pounder Daniel Heiss (12-11 decision), Edmonds-Woodway 126-pounder Grayson LeCompte (4-2 in sudden victory), Stanwood 132-pounder Isaac Ortega (3-1), Oak Harbor 145-pounder Blake McBride (2-1) and Snohomish 195-pounder Ryan Douglas (2-1) all displayed the ability to win close matches against top competition — a critical part of any state championship bid.

“For me, it’s really about sticking with (moves) I know I can hit and just not panicking,” Ortega said. “When the score’s tight, 1-2 points, you just have to keep wrestling.”

Sultan’s Luke Weaver, who won a 1A state championship at 120 pounds in 2018, withstood a tough test in the second round of the 126-pound bracket.

Weaver won 2-0 over Forks’ Ariel Morales, who placed fourth in 2018. His only points came from a reversal in the second period.

“I knew he was a tough kid, stocky and strong,” Weaver said. “I just knew I had to wrestle my match and do what I do on top.”

The senior will try to become Sultan’s first two-time state champion Saturday, beginning with a quarterfinal match against Logan Patrick of Naches Valley.

“It’s a super tough weight class,” said Sultan coach Garth MacDicken. “There’s a lot of great kids in it. Tomorrow’s matches are going to be really good.”

Top-flight girls handle business

Nearly all of the highly ranked local wrestlers advanced to the quarterfinals of the girls tournament at the Mat Classic.

Returning state champion Kiley Hubby of Lake Stevens pinned her way to the quarterfinals of the 170-pound bracket and will face Burlington-Edison’s Emma Fleury, ranked fifth, on Saturday.

Stanwood’s Chanel Siva, a junior ranked third at 235 pounds by Washington Wrestling Report, also pinned her first two opponents to setup quarterfinal match with Arlington’s Alyson Ellingson.

Siva placed fifth in 2018.

“She’s wrestling good,” said Stanwood girls head coach Todd Freeman. “She stays in good, solid position. She doesn’t give up any cheap points usually. She’s a smaller heavyweight, obviously, so she knows that if she gets under their weight she’ll get in trouble. So she’s really good about moving and shoots a lot.”

Kamiak’s Diana Cantini, a junior who placed seventh at 105 pounds in 2018, cruised through two victories in the 110-pound bracket to setup a quarterfinal match against Cora Orton of Sedro-Woolley.

Cantini is hoping for a top-five finish this year.

“I feel pretty strong,” Cantini said. “I’ve been eating, lifting and running hard. If you train hard enough, you’ll be able to compete with your weight class.”

Carmen Degregg of Everett, a senior and returning state placer, also advanced to the quarterfinals at 110 pounds and will face Rogers’ top-ranked Salyna Shotwell,

Other local girls to reach the quarterfinals include Vivian Potong of Arlington (105 pounds), Snohomish’s Mikayla Jardine (105), Tailer Cochran of Arlington (120), Lakewood’s Cassidy O’Hara (125), Holly Butler of Snohomish (135), Charlotte Torio of Edmonds-Woodway (145), Stanwood’s Autumn Ortega (155), and Alycia Pidgeon of Snohomish (170).

In one of the bigger upsets of the girls tournament, Edmonds-Woodway’s Vatoria Keyes, ranked second at 235, was pinned by top-ranked Jasmin Fryer of West Valley (Spokane) in the second round of matches.

Early team scores

Edmonds-Woodway sits in third place in the race for the 3A team title with 75 points, behind first-place Mount Spokane (84) and Yelm (82). The Warriors will have nine wrestlers in Saturday morning’s quarterfinal round.

Marysville Pilchuck also cracked the top 10 with 43 points, tying with Peninsula for ninth.

Darrington is ninth in the 2B/1B standings with 40 points, well behind first-place Tonasket (102).

Everett’s girls are sixth with 37 points, trailing first-place Sunnyside, which amassed 46.5 Friday. Stanwood is in a four-way tie for seventh.

In this year’s revamped format, the Friday team scores are less revealing than in a typical year, with quarterfinal matches still to come Saturday morning.

There are plenty of team points still on the table, and things can shift dramatically on Saturday.

News and notes

Lake Stevens senior 182-pounder Isaac Gust showed no signs of any lingering effects of the torn meniscus that forced him to miss most of the regular season, dominating in two wins Friday. Gust was injured at a preseason national tournament in Iowa, had surgery in the fall, and didn’t return until the Vikings’ Jan. 11 dual against Glacier Peak…Cedarcrest sophomore 170-pounder Matthew Weinert, who placed fourth at state last season as a freshman, did not make weight at sub-regionals and thus did not compete Friday. “I was just as shocked as anyone else,” Red Wolves coach Mark Ward said…Marysville Getchell 138-pounder Trey Padgett, who is a celebrated fashion designer alongside his exploits on the mat, said that the Chargers coaching staff would be wearing handmade hoodies he designed during Saturday’s tournament action.

— Herald writer Evan Thompson contributed to this report

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