Mat Classic XXX notebook: 3 Tomahawks to semifinals

TACOMA — The Marysville Pilchuck wrestling team placed three wrestlers into Saturday’s Mat Classic XXX semifinals, most among area schools. Stanwood, Sultan and Darrington have two semifinalists apiece.

Tomahawks senior 106-pounder Cole Daurie, junior 138-pounder Isaiah Galindo and senior 285-pounder Joe Lawrence will compete for a chance at a state championship, with sophomore 170-pounder Cayden White still alive in the consolations.

Galindo and Lawrence made their Mat Classic debuts Friday, and Daurie is looking to improve on his fourth-place finish from last season.

Daurie made quick work of first-round opponent Max Reisman of Lake Washington, pinning him in 1:47.

His quarterfinal against Yelm’s Gage Nelson started the same way, as Daurie led 5-0 after the first period following a quick takedown and three-point near-fall.

Things got a little bit hairy in the second period, however, as Daurie admittedly let up on the gas pedal.

He started from the bottom position, but Nelson reversed him to cut the lead to 5-2. With 30 seconds left, Nelson cinched in a cradle that resulted in a near-fall, but no more.

“I was a little nervous when he got in on the cradle, but I was able to relax and adjust,” Daurie said.

He was able to escape Nelson to take a 6-5 lead into the third period. Nelson intentionally let Daurie escape to make the score 7-5, but he fended off takedown attempts to walk away with the win.

“My coaches say I’m the best wrestler in this weight class when I’m aggressive and don’t stop attacking,” Daurie said. “I got away from that a little bit.”

Galindo, who said he kept the jitters away by trying to treat the weekend like just another tournament, beat Diego Delgado of Timberline 8-3 and pinned Ferndale’s Ryan Slaughter with 15 seconds left in their quarterfinal bout.

Lawrence needed three overtime periods and an ‘ultimate tiebreaker’ to outlast Hector Jasso of Lakes in the quarterfinals.

In the fourth extra period, the wrestler who scored first in the bout gets to choose his position, top or bottom. Lawrence chose bottom, and he had 30 seconds to either escape Jasso or lose the match. He wound up winning when Jasso was whistled for interlocking hands, a one-point infraction.

Successful first-timers

Monroe freshman 106-pounder Cole Lance and Meadowdale senior 132-pounder Aria Zarei both advanced to the semifinals in their first appearances at Mat Classic.

Lance toiled under the radar all season for the Bearcats, but opened eyes by beating Auburn Mountainview’s Marco Galeano 3-0 in the regional semifinal last weekend before falling to Lake Stevens’ Jake Bennett 6-1 in the final.

Lance has carried that momentum into Tacoma, and is a win away from accomplishing his stated goal of being a state finalist in his first high school season.

“People have told me all season that I was too small or too young or not technically advanced enough,” Lance said. “I look forward to shocking some more people.”

Zarei proved Friday that regionals are not always a reliable predictor of success at state. He finished fourth at Edmonds-Woodway last Saturday to claim the region’s final state berth.

“I let my nerves get to me and I was just slow in all my matches,” Zarei said of his regional performance. “I needed more movement, and to just work my stuff. I’m an offensive wrestler.”

Zarei pinned Bishop Blanchet’s Zachariah Gomez in the third period of his opening bout before dominating Kelso senior Jordan Miller — last year’s runner-up at 132 pounds — in an 8-1 win.

“He just never stopped wrestling,” Mavericks first-year coach Josh Knowles said of Zarei. “He got back to his style, which is go, go, go. He didn’t do as well as he would have liked to last week, but he got here and opened things up. It was cool to see.”

Vikings struggle in Dome again

Lake Stevens finished outside the top five in the 4A team standings for the first time since 2002 at last year’s state tournament, but the saving grace was that 11 of the Vikings’ 12 participants would be back in 2018.

With 14 wrestlers in the field as the tournament opened Friday, Lake Stevens seemed primed for a return to the top of the 4A heap.

It hasn’t worked out that way, as senior 106-pounder Jake Bennett’s shocking first-round loss to Graham-Kapowsin’s Noah Cortez was the first in a string of disappointing outcomes for the Vikings on Friday.

Lake Stevens had six wins in its 14 first-round matches, and despite only placing defending state champion Malachi Lawrence into the semifinals, still finished Day 1 second in the team standings with 53 points, 13 behind South Kitsap.

The Vikings defeated the Wolves 43-26 in a home dual meet on Dec. 21.

But South Kitsap advanced six of its nine state participants to the semifinals Friday, and although the Vikings have four wrestlers still alive in the consolation rounds, there just aren’t enough people left to earn team points.

“We didn’t have a great first round, and Jake’s loss really hurt,” Barnes said. “We had some winnable matches in there, but we just had no room for error.”

Five girls to semifinals

On a first day state wrestling action where area boys underperformed a bit, the local girls picked up the slack.

Snohomish 130-pounder Joessie Gonzales, Kamiak 140-pounder Ally de la Cruz, Glacier Peak 145-pounder Kiley Hubby, Granite Falls 170-pounder Karrah Smith and Stanwood sophomore 235-pounder Chanel Siva all advanced to Saturday’s semifinals.

de la Cruz and Gonzales will become four and three-time state placers, respectively. Hubby and Smith will place for the second time, and Siva will place for the first time.

de la Cruz, aiming for her second state championship, injured her collarbone during her 6-3 quarterfinal victory over Wapato’s Estrella Pulgarin, and Kamiak assistant coach John Baldwin said she saw the on-site training staff after the bout and the area had already begun to swell.

He expects de la Cruz to be on the mat for her semifinal bout against Union’s Krista Warren on Saturday.

Hubby was considered the top threat to Lakes’ Flor Parker-Borrero’s run at becoming the fourth female wrestler to win four state titles.

She’s now the favorite, as Parker-Borrero has injury defaulted through the tournament, according to Todd Milles of the News Tribune.

Wild times for Hare

Edmonds-Woodway sophomore 120-pounder Howie Hare has had some interesting experiences at Mat Classic in his two visits to the Tacoma Dome.

He was an alternate as a freshman, but found out with 45 minutes notice he’d be in the field after a Shorecrest wrestler developed a skin condition.

This year, Hare won his first-round match by disqualification after Lakes junior Alex Lovtsov bit him on the arm during the bout.

Hare was pinned by Mount Spokane’s Casey Howerton in his quarterfinal match, but is still alive in the consolations after closing his day with a 6-2 win over Everett’s Daniel Ramirez.

Not a great start

Of the 110 area wrestlers that qualified for Mat Classic, only 40 (36 percent) won his or her first-round match.

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