By David Pan
Enterprise sports editor
Shorewood’s Tim Hester considers the two best matches of the season to have been against Edmonds-Woodway’s Rudy Johanson.
During the regular season, Hester defeated Johanson, but the Warrior sophomore gained the upper hand in last weekend’s rematch.
Johanson overcame an early first-round 2-0 deficit to record a 15-9 decision over Hester in the 189-pound finals at the Class 4A Northwest District wrestling tournament Feb. 3 at Marysville-Pilchuck High School.
“He gave me the best match of the season the last time I wrestled him,” Hester said. “It was the best match of the season this time. So it’s going to be interesting to see what happens.”
Both Hester and Johanson advanced to this Saturday’s regional tournament at Snohomish High School. The two could well meet up again this weekend or if they advance at the state tournament Feb. 16-17 at the Tacoma Dome.
Johanson fell behind 2-0 early in the first period but then rallied to take a 3-2 lead. He never surrendered the lead the rest of the match.
“I felt good. I’ve been practicing a lot of different moves because last time he beat me,” said Johanson, a transfer student from Alaska. “I’ve just been working hard.”
Shorewood coach Arnie Moreno hopes Hester uses the loss as motivation for the regional tournament.
“We’re not happy with the results, but you’ve got to hand it to the Edmonds-Woodway wrestler,” Moreno said. “Johanson is a tough kid. He’s an experienced kid. … He didn’t back down and gave Tim a really tough loss. But knowing Tim, he’s not a quitter. He’s going to come back. He’ll bounce right back and be ready next week.”
Hester had a first-round bye and then recorded three straight pins to advance to Saturday’s finals. Johanson came in with four straight pins.
The final definitely was a tough match, Hester said.
“The last match was exhausting,” he said. “It was a battle.”
The top four finishers at regionals advance to state.
“I feel like I can make it to state again,” Hester said. “I don’t know where I’m going to seed, but it’s going to be up there.”
Moreno noted that moving on to regionals is what was important.
“The good thing about this time of the year is when you go from one week to the next everything is new,” Moreno said. “You start all over. It doesn’t matter what place you are — first or sixth. You got a spot. He’s going to move up next week. He wants one of those top four spots and that’s where he needs to be.”
Also joining Hester at regionals is teammate Matt Jensen, who placed fourth at 145.
Jensen had a first-round bye and then recorded a pin before losing an 8-6 decision in the quarterfinals. In the consolation bracket, he rebounded with a pin and 10-2/8-4 decisions before falling 5-3 to Lake Stevens’ George King in the third/fourth match.