TACOMA — Awaiting his 182-pound 3A final at Mat Classic XXIV Saturday night, Glacier Peak’s Sean Elledge stood in the corner of the Tacoma Dome, jogging in place while listening through earbuds to “Can’t Be Touched” by rapper and former light heavyweight champion boxer Roy Jones Jr.
The song proved prophetic.
Elledge dismantled Mercer Island’s Phil Frazier on the way to an 8-0 major decision, beating the guy that Washington Wrestling report ranked as No. 1 in the 182-pound weight class entering the tournament.
“Me and my coach made a game plan and I stuck to it,” Elledge said of his strategy against Frazier, who a year ago finished third at state while wrestling in the 171-pound weight class.
“I wore him down and I started just tearing him apart. It’s amazing right now. I’m so happy that I won it. It’s always good to go out there and dominate.”
In 2011, Elledge placed fifth at 160 pounds, but he and his cousin Jacob Elledge broke through this year, as Glacier Peak’s second and third individual finalists in school history. In 2011, Josh St. Marie became the school’s first individual champion.
“It’s good for me and my cousin to get there (the finals) because my cousin is the one that’s pushing me,” Sean said. “He’s always telling me how good I am and I’m pushing him. We’re just pushing each other in the room to try to make us our best. It was good to see my cousin there. I was happy for him he deserved it.”
Both are juniors and third-year coach Bryan Mossburg is happy with the progress of his program at the relatively new school.
“We’ve got a lot of young kids that are excited about wrestling and we’ve got a lot of them down here watching their teammates that are on the verge and now they’ve seen it with them breaking through and both getting into the finals,” Mossburg said. “Coming back next year. That’s huge. It’s exciting for these guys.”
Sean hopes that the lessons learned this week on the mat in Tacoma translate to the gridiron where he is a running back for the football team.
“I think it makes me a way better football player,” Sean said.
Jacob Elledge, who entered Mat Classic ranked seventh, dropped the 145-pound final to Sedro-Wooley’s Brady Mast, who was ranked first. It was Jacob’s third loss in three weeks to the S-W senior after meeting him in the finals of the district and regional tournament.
Several local wrestlers rode upsets the finals Saturday, perhaps most impressive was Lake Stevens’ Eric Soler in the 126-pound 4A class. The Vikings junior defeated two undefeated wrestlers in the semifinals and finals both of which were state champions in 2010.
“It’s unbelievable especially with a kid that’s had to deal with an ACL reconstruction a year ago,” Lake Stevens coach Brent Barnes said. “He comes through maybe the toughest weight class.”
Against Steven Hopkins of Tahoma in the final Soler lead 6-4 but let Hopkins back in the match with a final second takedown at the end of the third period. In overtime Soler made one quick move to win the sudden-death match 8-6.
“I had it at the end of the match and I was just getting lazy,” Soler said. “I was like (shoot) I’ve got to step back up.”
Soler’s win helped propel Lake Stevens to the edge of a team trophy awarded to the 4A teams with the top four scores. The Vikings finished with 91 points. Tahoma was the overall champion with 190 points.
Equally impressive on the 3A side was Everett’s Jessie Lopez who won a 7-6 decision against Yelm’s Dillon Harris at 132 pounds. Lopez was an underdog against the top-ranked Harris and had lost to the Yelm junior Dec. 5th 8-4.
“I went in not thinking win or lose,” the Seagull junior said. “I wanted to wrestle as hard as I can.”
Lopez overcame a 6-5 deficit with 23.3 seconds left in the match to win. Everett coach Brien Elliott knew after the Dec. 5 bout that they would see him again and taught Lopez two moves to practice. Lopez spent 30 minutes every day outside of regular preparation on those moves, which is how he came back in the end. It was amazing dedication for an opponent that based on chance, Lopez may have never faced again this year.
“He executed it brilliantly,” Elliott said. “We knew he had him.”
The lone area favorite on the boys side, entering the finals was perhaps the smallest boy wrestler in the Tacoma Dome—Edmonds-Woodway’s 5-foot-2 Noah Cuzzetto wrestling at 106 pounds.
Cuzzetto came back from the dead both in Saturday’s final and on the season to take the 106-pound title with a 6-4 win over Graham Kapowsin’s Spencer Schroeder.
Four weeks ago Cuzzetto had an x-ray on his foot that revealed a broken foot, presumably ending his season.
“I was pretty devastated,” Cuzzetto said. “I knew I would have a good run at state this year.”
Several days of rest and a second opinion revealed that a growth plate in the sophomore’s foot came out of place, but naturally fell back to where it was supposed to be.
“I felt like I had a second life,” Cuzzetto said. “Like it was meant to be. Like I was going to win this.”
During the district and regional tournament all the way to the state finals no one got ahead of the Warrior on points until he trailed Schroeder 4-2 entering the third period Saturday night.
“He’s pretty comfortable in those situations,” E-W coach Brian Alfi said.
A takedown and a near fall later and Cuzzetto rode Schroeder’s back to the crown.
“I was a little nervous, but I knew I could pull it out,” Cuzzetto said. “I just needed to wrestle hard. I had a few tricks up my sleeve. That’s what nine years of wrestling gives you. You always have something in reserve.”
The season also ended in tears for some of the area’s best.
Lake Stevens’ Brandon Johnson lead Central Kitsap’s Kyle Lanoue in the second period but went to overtime tied 1-1, before succumbing to a near fall to end the tournament.
Arlington’s Blake McPherson entered the morning’s semifinals undefeated on the season but lost a brutal match 6-5 to the state’s top ranked wrestler, who went on to finish second. In his first consolation bout against Union’s Bryson Page, who he defeated 20-10 during the regional tourney, he injured his shoulder and dropped a 4-2 decision. McPherson ended up sixth after injury defaulting to Snohomish’s Nathan Proffitt who took sixth.
At Tacoma Dome
Team results—6. Lake Stevens 91, 9. Snohomish 61, 13. Stanwood 34, 14, Marysville Pilchuck 34, 15. Edmonds-Woodway 31, 19. Kamiak 27, 38. Arlington 10.
106—Noah Cuzzetto (E-W), champion def. Schroeder (G-K) 6-4, OT in final; David Garcia (Kam), third pinned Alonzo (Aub) 4:58; 113—Gino Obregon (Sno), third def. Dykman (TB) 5-0, Joshua Heitzman (Kam), seventh pinned Hershel (Univ) 0:20; 120—Josh Langstaff (Stan), sixth pinned by Gleed (ML) 4:26; 126—Eric Soler (LS), champion def. Hopkins (Tah) 8-6, OT, Killian Page (MP), sixth lost to Tickman (Iss) 14-10; 132—Christian Mendoza (MP), fifth pinned Gonzalez (Eis) 0:54, Greg Eagle (Sno), eighth lost to Thelen (CV) 4-2; 138—Kinsey Johnson (LS), third def. Munding (Mead) 7-0; 145—Drew Hatch (MP), sixth lost to Mjelde (Tah) 11-2, Max Welsh (Mar), seventh pinned Lee (Beth) 2:35; 152—Zach Schut (Stan), fifth def. Reynolds (Uni) 11-8; 160—Ammon Morrill (Sno), sixth lost to Davis (CV) 5-2; 170—Kyle Bennett (Stan), fifth inj. def. over Harper (East); 182—Ryan Olliges (LS), third pinned Dennis (Shel) 3:23, Peter St. Marie (Sno), eighth lost to Edrington (Chi) 6-5; 195—Nathan Proffit (Sno), fifth inj. def. over Blake McPherson (Arl), McPherson, sixth lost to Proffit, inj def.; 220—Luke Reinhard (Sno), eighth lost to Volz (Mead) 10-6; 285—Brandon Johnson (LS), second lost to Lanoue (CK) 6-1 in final.
Team results—12. Glacier Peak 52, 15. Shorecrest 43, 16. Everett 41, 26. Oak Harbor 26.5, 32. Lynnwood 20, 34. Meadowdale 18.5, 48. Marysville Getchell 5
106—Luis Cardona (M-G), eighth lost to Osborn (Univ) 9-5; 113—Jesus Escalona (Shc), fifth pinned Guerrero (Sunn) 4:21; 120—Mathew Floresca (Shw), fourth lost to Wicken (Kel) 3-1; 126—Cody Fakkema (OH), third pinned Gonzalez (Sunn) 2:22; Calkins (Lynn), seventh pinned Morf (Timb) 1:23; 132—Jessie Lopez (Eve), champion def. Harris (Yelm) 7-6 in final; 145—Jacob Elledge (GP), second lost to Mast (S-W) 10-2 in final; 152—Hunter Lord (Lynn), eighth pinned by Tibbetts (Odea) 1:54; 170—Connor Boyce (Eve), fourth lost to Petrechko (LW) 7-4; 182—Sean Elledge (GP) champion def. Frazier (MI) 8-0 in final; 285—Ian Bolstad (Shc) champion def. Cosby (Univ) 8-4 in final.
Class 2A: 106—Chris Jenkins (GF), seventh def. Collins (RAL) 4-0; 145—Carlos Toledano (Ced), fifth def. Miller (DP) 6-2; 160—Cody Paxman (Ced), second lost to Prentice (Tum) 8-5; 170—Martin Vakamoce (Ced), sixth pinned by Churchill (Cent) 2:32; Brandon Todd (AM), eighth pinned by Duran (Aber) 1:30; 182—Conner Kruse (AM), eighth pinned by Goodpaster (Sel) 4:12; 285—Robby McNair (Ced), second pinned by Postlewait (MB) :48.