SNOHOMISH — Edmonds-Woodway’s Joe Trieu may look back on the results of last weekend’s Region I tournament as a blessing in disguise.
But minutes after suffering the first defeat of his senior season, Trieu was still trying to figure out what went wrong in the 112-pound finals Feb. 15 at Snohomish High School.
Trieu jumped to a 7-1 lead over Lake Stevens sophomore Lester Brown but then saw his younger opponent score nine unanswered points over the next two periods to score a 10-7 upset.
“I’ve had better weekends,” Trieu said. “It’s disappointing to lose … but I guess this will just give me an edge for next weekend.”
Trieu (29-1 overall) declared that he planned to work harder than anyone else in the state in preparation for this weekend’s Mat Classic XV in the Tacoma Dome.
“Honestly, I don’t see anything that is going to get in my way of that state title,” he said.
The pressure of coming into the Region I tournament undefeated took a toll on Trieu. He felt that mentally he just wasn’t there in the finals.
The loss has taken some of the pressure off of Trieu’s shoulders.
“I kind of just pushed it off,” Trieu said. “I guess I never really dealt with it but now it’s out of my system.”
After taking a big lead in the first period, Trieu then became tentative against Brown, who cut the lead to 7-4 by the end of the second period.
“I think the reason I lost my match was that I stopped attacking,” Trieu said. “At the beginning I was attacking.”
While Trieu was trying to protect his slim lead, Brown tied the score and then scored three near-fall points just as time ran out in the third period.
Edmonds-Woodway coach Mike Hanchett is certain that his senior standout will bounce back from the disappointment.
“The real mark of a champion is being able to go through the loss and come back and make something of it,” Hanchett said. “I think he’ll take this small step back and turn it into a real positive step forward for where he’s going next week … it’s better to have it happen here and get second here than it is in state.
“I think he’s prepared and I think that gives him one more mental block of preparation to take into the tournament next weekend.”
Trieu was the only wrestler from Edmonds-Woodway or Mountlake Terrace that advanced to the state tournament.
Mountlake Terrace’s Ben Comeau finished sixth in the 145-pound division and Edmonds-Woodway’s Jon Fletcher was sixth at 171.
Enumclaw took first place in the team competition with 187.5 points, ahead of second-place Lake Stevens, which had 146.5. Tahoma (125), Auburn (122.5) and Mount Vernon (109.5) rounded out the top five.