TACOMA – Deer Park’s race to a fourth straight State 2A wrestling championship hit a little construction delay Saturday morning, but by the time heavyweight Shawn Burton registered a 26-second pin over a Centralia wrestler to close the semifinals, the Stags were back on the open road.
With three finalists, two champions and eight placers, Deer Park piled up 147½ points to beat Centralia by 45.
“I wanted to go out there and show them what’s what,” Burton said after beating Bryce Wells of Eatonville 6-1 in the finale. “They were on our tail all day. I was ready to go out there and I just took that guy down.”
The Stags had six semifinalists, but the first three lost and 145-pound senior Billy Rhoads was feeling it.
“I thought there was more pressure for the team in the semifinal,” he said. “For me, personally, all the pressure is in the finals. I wrestle better with pressure.”
He stopped the slide and then won his second title with a 7-3 win over Zach Schrader of Eatonville.
“I’m a two-timer,” Rhoads said. “They’re both equally important.”
Burton is a four-time placer, but nothing compares to the last.
“This is so much more sweeter, coming back from the defeat, taking it from a good opponent,” he said, referring to last year’s loss in the finals. “It was good.”
It also means he contributed to all four team titles.
“It’s never boring,” he said. “Taking that trophy home is always exciting.”
Dylan Miller lost a heartbreaking 2-1 decision to Riley Prentice of Tumwater, who got an escape in the second overtime.
What impressed Deer Park coach Matt Jorgensen the most was the way his wrestlers battled back to make the four straight team titles a reality.
“They’re all exciting,” he said. “This one was more relief. We knew we would be in a battle and we were. Our kids came through later in the (semifinal) round, and all our kids that lost responded. All our kids came back and placed third.”
That was sophomore Jake Konzal at 112, sophomore Cole Harris at 119 and freshman Joe Grable at 130.
The other area champion was Cheney’s Elias Mason at 152.
“I’m only a sophomore,” he said after his pin of Jacob Marks of Interlake at 3:11. “I didn’t make it to state last year. I worked my butt off last summer and did a lot of freestyle.”