Wrestling champs meet at Lake Stevens

This time it’s not on a marquee night, but it’s still a marquee event.

Two of the state’s most consistently successful prep wrestling programs will clash at 7 p.m. tonight at Lake Stevens High School. The Sedro-Woolley Cubs, winners of the past six Class 3A state team championships, will battle the Lake Stevens Vikings, the defending 4A state champs.

It’s the third consecutive year the prolific squads will face off in a dual meet. Lake Stevens won the past two times, including a 36-24 triumph last year in Sedro-Woolley.

Unlike the past two high-profile meets, the teams’ 2007 showdown is on a Tuesday instead of Friday or Saturday. But the Lake Stevens High gym should still be packed with plenty of fans.

“I don’t know if it’ll be as good as it’s been in the past but I hope it’s a decent crowd,” Lake Stevens coach Brent Barnes said.

The meet was scheduled for a weekday this time because it’s the only date that worked for both squads, Barnes said.

Among the 12 weight divisions, the most entertaining matches should come from competitors at 135, 140 and 145 pounds, said Barnes. Sedro-Woolley sophomore Derek Garcia won the 3A state title at 125 pounds last season and now wrestles at 140 pounds. He could go against Lake Stevens senior Josh Monson, who placed fifth in 4A at 135, or Josh Eacrett, another Vikings senior, who was seventh in 4A at 130.

Sedro-Woolley also has junior 130-pounder Shane Hunt, a two-time third-place finisher at state, and senior Kevin O’Neil (135), a three-time 3A state runner-up.

Lake Stevens has two lower-weight standouts: senior Zach Zweifel (112) and junior Jack Stilwell (119). Last season Zweifel won a 4A state title at 103, defeating Stilwell in the finals.

Despite all the well-known names, a less-heralded grappler from either team could ultimately sway the outcome.

Said Barnes, “Just like always, it comes down to those kids who you don’t expect to have an impact.”

Clutch performance

When his team needed it most, Aaron Matzen found ways to score. Matzen, a 6-foot-2 junior guard, scored 19 of his 22 points after the first half Friday in the Lynnwood’s boys basketball team’s 57-55 double-overtime victory over Washougal. His 3-point shot with three seconds to go in the second OT was the game-winning basket.

Matzen eventually ignited a Lynnwood offense that scored just 14 first-half points.

“He really stepped up his game,” Lynnwood coach Landon Porter said.

It was the first game-winner of Matzen’s varsity career, said Porter.

Early tests for Snohomish

Snohomish girls basketball coach Ken Roberts loves a good challenge. That’s why he always mixes difficult non-division games into the Panthers’ schedule. This week Snohomish, ranked No. 1 in The Herald’s preseason Western Conference North Division coaches’ poll, will play Meadowdale and Jackson, the Wesco South’s top-rated teams.

A balanced Snohomish team plays host to Meadowdale, fueled by point guard Eryn Jones, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

“It’s good for us. It’ll be a good test, obviously,” Roberts said, adding that Meadowdale might be one of the top two 3A teams in the state.

Last season Snohomish lost early-season games against Meadowdale and Jackson but steadily improved and went on to place seventh at the 4A state tourney.

By Mike Cane, Herald Writer

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