Mead sophomore Jordan Rogers wanted to be a four-time state champ.
He captured a state title as a freshman at 145 pounds and had battled toe to toe last season with friend and rival Jake Mason of University, the defending state champ at 160.
Three days before state, though, he had an emergency appendectomy.
About three weeks after surgery, Rogers was back on the mat training. It all paid off last weekend when he captured a national championship at the Fila Cadet freestyle tournament at the University of Akron (Ohio).
Rogers topped Kyle Crutchmer of Oklahoma 6-0 in the final at 167.5 pounds.
“I guess I can settle for not going to state,” Rogers said.
“What he did is pretty big in the wrestling world,” Mead coach Phil McLean said. “He’s young for his age group. He was giving up a little size. Those two things make it impressive.”
Along the way, Rogers beat Jake Waste of Minnesota.
Waste won three national titles last summer – freestyle and Greco-Roman at the Junior National tournament in Fargo, N.D., and a national title in folkstyle.
“I felt like a wrestled pretty well,” Rogers said. “I was still a little rusty just getting back on the mat (after surgery). But I was pretty motivated.”
Rogers, who placed second in freestyle at Fargo last summer, has his sights set on a national title this summer.
Before then, though, Rogers has an opportunity to qualify for the Youth Olympic Games, a new event sponsored by the International Olympic Committee. It will be held in Singapore in August. To qualify, Rogers will compete May 2-6 in a Pan American qualifier in Monterey, Mexico.
Area players selected
Ryan Nicholas of Gonzaga Prep and Jazmine Redmon of Mead will play Saturday in the Les Schwab Northwest Shootout at the University of Portland’s Chiles Center.
They were selected to play for Washington teams that take on Oregon teams in the 17th annual senior all-star games.
Redmon will play with future Gonzaga University teammate Danielle Walter of Pasco. For Nicholas, it will be his first game at his future college home.
Another Bulldog signs
Sandpoint outside hitter Piper Wahlin signed a letter of intent to play volleyball at Weber State University.
The 5-foot-7 Wahlin, who jumps well, was a four-year starter at Sandpoint.
She’s the second Sandpoint athlete to sign with a Big Sky Conference school. Setter Koko James is headed to Montana.
The annual Pasco Invite track and field meet is Saturday.
The always competitive meet attracts many of the top athletes throughout Washington.