Team Washington nearly erased a 21-point deficit against Team Illinois in the Greco-Roman championship match at the Cadet National Duals on Thursday in Spokane, but a loss in the final bout meant Washington would have to settle for second place.
Washington won eight of the final 10 bouts — including a 16-13 victory at 152 pounds by Stanwood High School sophomore Riley Van Scoy — but never led in a 39-36 defeat at the Spokane Convention Center.
It was a stirring comeback for the team of the state’s best wrestlers born in 2002 or 2003, which lost six of its first seven bouts —three via pinfall — in the dual.
It was the best finish at the National Cadet Duals for Team Washington since it placed second in Greco-Roman in 2015 in York, Pennsylvania.
“Their upper weights came to wrestle and ours didn’t,” Washington State Wrestling Association Cadet director Mike Bundy said via phone Thursday. “We were winning in all three of the matches we got pinned in, and you can’t get pinned three times in a dual like this.”
Bundy said his team’s comeback surprised him a bit, given the caliber of kids Washington defeated to make it happen.
“We wrestled All-Americans at 106, 113 and 120 and we won all of them. We were hoping to win two of those, but we got all three,” he said. “
Washington went 2-1 Thursday in the bracketed pool portion of the Gold/Silver championship bracket, beating Kansas 50-27 and Oklahoma 48-27 before falling to Georgia on criteria after a 36-36 tie. Despite that setback, Washington still advanced to the championship match against Illinois.
Washington Blue, the state’s ‘B’ team at the event, finished sixth in the Bronze/Copper pool, which equates to 14th overall in the 27-team field.
Local wrestlers that competed for Washington Blue on Thursday included Monroe 113-pounder Cole Lance (1-1), Lakewood 120-pounder John Seth (0-2), Cavalero Mid-High School eighth-grader Wyatt Springer (1-3), Granite Falls 152-pounder Hayden Long (2-0), Marysville Pilchuck 170-pounder Cayden White (3-1) and Darrington’s Johnny Franke (2-2), who wrestled at 22o pounds after competing at 195 on Wednesday.
The tournament switches to freestyle competition on Friday and Saturday.
Bundy said White will join Van Scoy on the ‘A’ team for the freestyle portion of the Duals.
“He’s a grinder and he’s reliable,” Bundy said of the Marysville Pilchuck sophomore. “He wrestled tough in Greco and was a leader on the ‘B’ team.”