TACOMA — Marysville Pilchuck’s Alivia White already has a historic moment on the horizon.
The star wrestler is set to head to the University of Iowa after she graduates to participate for the Hawkeyes women’s wrestling program, as it becomes the first-ever varsity squad offered by an NCAA D-I Power Five institution.
But before White departs for a monumental moment on the national stage, the Tomahawks senior had a local record to achieve at Mat Classic XXXIV on Saturday at the Tacoma Dome.
The nationally ranked standout bulldozed her way through the field at the state tournament at 190 pounds again to become the first-ever three-time girls state champion in Snohomish County history.
“That’s pretty cool,” White said. “That’s awesome making history.”
White stormed through the Class 3A/4A girls bracket with four consecutive first-period pins, extending her record at Mat Classic to a perfect 12-0, a mark that includes 11 pins and 10 in the first period, and her overall high school mark to 113-2. The victory also capped an unbeaten 34-0 senior campaign.
She needed just 50 seconds to best Bellingham School District junior Isabella Phillips in their title tilt.
“I wouldn’t be in this position without my mom,” White said about her mother, Andie, the Marysville Pilchuck girls coach. “She started the program when I was an eighth-grader and it’s soaring now. It’s going to keep soaring.”
GP produces boys, girls title winners for 2nd straight year
Just a year ago the Glacier Peak wrestling program had its first Mat Classic with a boy and girl winning a state title.
The Grizzlies repeated the feat Saturday with defending 125-pound girls champion Karianne Baldwin repeating in the same weight class in the 3A/4A girls tournament and Connor Aney avenging his loss in the title bout last season with a down-to-the-wire clash at 285 pounds in 4A boys.
Baldwin, a junior, joined an elite group of Snohomish County wrestlers as she won her second state championship. White, Chanel Siva (Stanwood) and Kiley Hubby (Glacier Peak/Lake Stevens) are the only other girls from Snohomish County to win multiple state titles.
“It means a lot to me,” Baldwin said. “I’ve been working a lot for this. It feels amazing.”
She’ll have the chance to tie White’s record of three next season.
Baldwin took control early and grabbed the lead with a quick first-period takedown in her championship bout with Union junior Niah Cassidy.
Cassidy managed to tie it up early in the second with her second escape of the match, but Baldwin quickly regained momentum and scored a pin 1 minutes, 32 seconds into the second.
The victory pushed the unbeaten junior’s record to 50-0 this season, and 98-1 for her career.
“She’s a pretty patient wrestler,” Grizzlies girls coach Jordan Gere said. “She’s confident in the moves that she has and she sticks to those things. She’s able to react and stick to the game plan.”
Aney (44-3) found himself in an eerily similar situation to his surprise run to the 285-pound title match as a freshman. The bruising sophomore was locked in a tense battle with Sunnyside senior Mateo Amendariz and the match eventually went into to extra time after Amendariz scored a quick point just before the end of the third.
It was the second consecutive season Aney found himself in an overtime slugfest for a title. This time he came out on top.
The Grizzlies’ standout was able to get the escape he needed to outlast Armendariz 5-4 in an ultimate tiebreaker.
“It’s always just been a dream really,” Aney said of the title. “It was heartbreaking last year, but now to finally do it, it’s amazing.”
Aney and Glacier Peak boys coach Bryan Mossburg highlighted the patience the newly minted state champion displayed as a key factor in the tense final moments of the night.
“You gotta keep your cool,” Aney said. “I didn’t do that last year. I did that this year and it ended up working out.”
Aney won his title with dad serving as an assistant coach in his corner and head coach that’s seen his standout sophomore’s growth on the mat over many years.
“My son (Gil Mossburg) and Connor have grown up together and wrestled together,” Bryan Mossburg said. “So, it’s pretty special to see him have this moment. All those years and all those tears, and he finally got it done.”
Grizzlies junior Gill Mossburg placed second at 145 pounds. He fell in a tight 6-3 decision to Sumner junior Cody Miller. It was Gill Mossburg’s second consecutive top-three finish at state.
Arlington freshman claims state title
Arlington’s Tre Haines put the rest of the 3A 138-pound field on notice early Saturday when he knocked off title favorite and 2022 132-pound champion Ethan Freund in the semifinals.
Haines, a freshman, nabbed a 1-0 lead in the second period and pushed it to 2-0 in the third before finishing off the close contest with a pin as the third-period buzzer sounded.
“He was first and foremost just ready for the moment,” Arlington coach Jonny Gilbertson said. “He wasn’t scared. He wasn’t nervous. He was prepared.”
Gilbertson noted that his Arlington wrestlers had faced Freund’s older brother, Christian, a two-time state champion, in the past. That helped the Eagles develop a strong game plan for Ethan Freund since the brothers wrestle similar styles.
Haines (39-5) executed the plan to perfection.
“We just knew it was going to be a tight a match, and if we stuck to the game plan and didn’t get desperate and take bad shots, we would find our opportunities,” Gilbertson said. “He executed. It was awesome.”
Freund had also won a AA state title in 2021 as a sophomore in Montana.
Haines continued to show his prowess in title bout as he took down Mount Spokane senior Hudson Buth, the state runner-up in the same weight class last season, by a 3-1 decision in the finals.
“All glory to God,” Haines said. “He made all of this happen. Thank you to all my coaches. … Now it’s time to get three more and be a four-timer.”
Haines’ championship is the first-ever for an Arlington freshman.
“For as young as he is, he’s so mature for his age,” Gilbertson said. “He’s unbelievable.”
Eagles teammate Dustin Baxter nearly gave Arlington a second individual winner in his run to the 152-pound title bout. The junior displayed grit as he outlasted Kent-Meridian senior Yasar Faizi, but couldn’t pull off another extra-time thriller in a 4-2 sudden victory loss to Walla Walla senior Mateo Caso. It was Baxter’s second top-three finish in a row at state.
“It’s a heartbreaker for a kid who wants it so bad to lose in overtime,” Gilbertson said. “The good thing is that he’s got one more shot, and that’s the first thing he said (after).”
Shorewood senior avenges title loss
Hunter Tibodeau came oh-so-close to reaching the top of the podium as a junior last season after finishing as the 3A state runner-up at 195 pounds.
The Stormrays senior learned from his loss in the title match last season and used it as motivation to make a run to the top of the 3A 220-pound bracket Saturday.
Tibodeau controlled his title bout from the get go and never relented as he topped Chief Sealth senior Dayne Camacho by a 7-0 decision to claim his first state title.
“This is what I’ve been training for,” Tibodeau said. “Loved it more than anything. That’s all there is to it.”
Tibodeau (35-1) said his nerves got to him when he reached the title bout last season. He wasn’t going to let them factor into his final run for state glory.
“This year I focused on my mindset the whole year,” he said, “so when I got to the big stage it was like a normal match.”
Tibodeau also leaned on his past experiences against Camacho in the finals. The two recently met at Gut Check and had wrestled previously over the years. Keeping the Chief Sealth senior off his feet and away from his strengths was the key.
“He executed the game plan perfectly,” Shorewood coach Derek Norton said.
Norton has coached Tibodeau since his days well before high school. He was “ecstatic” for his senior, who’s provided immense leadership for the program.
“He’s irreplaceable,” Norton said. “Kids like that don’t come around very often. He’s built our program up. He’s really been an inspiration to the kids on the team.”
Stanwood boys place third in 3A, four individuals place top three
The Stanwood boys didn’t quite reach their lofty goals of a 3A team state title, but the Spartans still showed out as one of the state’s top programs.
Stanwood delivered the area’s top team finish with a third-place trophy in 3A. The Spartans finished 37.5 points behind first-place Mead with 162 points. Eight of the Spartans’ 11 state qualifiers placed, including four in the top three.
Senior Tyler Rhue led the charge with a runner-up finish in the 132-pound bracket. The Stanwood standout dropped a tightly contested 3-1 decision to Mead junior Josh Neiwert in the finals. It was his second consecutive second-place medal at Mat Classic and his third top-three finish.
Senior Ryder Bumganer (170), senior Mason Ferguson (182) and sophomore Elijah Fleck (195) each finished third in their respective brackets. Senior Keaton Mayernik (132) also earned the third top-five finish of his career after placing fifth.
Other locals in finals
Lake Stevens senior Jacob Christianson ran out of time as he fell just short in a 6-4 decision to Chiawana senior Isaiah Medina in the 4A 113-pound finals. Christianson fell behind early and trailed 5-1 in the third period before making a push down the stretch. He rallied to within 6-4 but couldn’t quite get the tying points he needed in the final moments.
Lake Stevens junior Koen Mattern met Kentwood junior Chase Baker in the 4A boys 220-pound finals. It was a rematch of last week’s regional title match, which Mattern won via tiebreaker criteria. But this time it was Baker who had his hand raised at the match’s end. The Kentwood junior built a lead early and held on for a 7-5 decision.
Christianson and Mattern were among five state placers for the Vikings, who finished sixth as a team.
Darrington senior Aksel Espeland battled back and forth early with Tonasket junior Aaron Polito in their 1B/2B boys 126-pound title match, but Polito delivered a strong third period to pull out a 6-3 decision.
Marysville Getchell sophomore Kira Songer run to the 3A/4A girls 115-pound championship came to an end with a 7-1 decision against unbeaten defending champion Moses Lake junior Ashley Dayana Naranjo.
Everett freshman Mia Cienega’s effort to be the county’s second freshman to win a championship Saturday evening fell short against unbeaten Prairie sophomore Faith Tarrant, the defending state champion. Tarrant ended Cienega’s title hopes with second-period pin.
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