TACOMA – The biggest schools in the Greater Spokane League and the smallest schools in the area didn’t win team championships, but they did just fine individually at Mat Classic XXIII in the Tacoma Dome with 11 champions and several team trophies when it all ended Saturday night.
Mead ended up third in 4A, Lakeside (Nine Mile Falls) was second in 1A and Reardan was third in B.
Nobody was more impressive than Mead junior Jordan Rogers, who finished with a perfect season, with all but two of his 41 wins coming by pin. But after his 8-2 decision of James Souza of Emerald Ridge at 171 pounds, Rogers was talking about his freshman brother Chandler, who had a shocking pin of Nico Moreno of Moses Lake midway through their 145-pound match Chandler was trailing.
“I’m definitely happier for my little brother, just because he’s my little brother. I love him to death,” Jordan said. “When he wins, part of me wins with him. To see him doing that as a freshman, I was so proud.”
Making it better was Chandler used a Jordan move he had just worked into his repertoire to get it done.
“That was a first,” big brother said. “That was awesome. It was cool to see him hit my move in the middle of the match and win.”
Chandler, who had lost to Moreno by a pin last week after splitting a pair of decisions earlier in the season, was a little nonchalant.
“He pins with that all the time,” he said. “He showed me what to do. I just took it, tried it out in this tournament. It worked out quite well in this match.”
Jordan also won a title as a freshman but missed out on a likely second when he had an emergency appendectomy the week of state last year. He turned the emotion from that into a national title and a second-place finish in an international tournament, but those accomplishments didn’t overshadow a second state title.
“It’s still a big goal of mine, it always has been, to win a few state titles,” he said. “The first one was definitely more exciting because it was a freshman thing.”
The Panthers went 3 for 3 in the finals, starting with Jeremy Golding’s 3-1 win over Dustin Utecht of Richland at 135.
The wins gave the Panthers 108½ points. Lake Stevens won the title with 129½. Moses Lake was second with 119.
Central Valley, despite going 0-2 in the finals, was fourth with 91½, only one-half point in front of Graham-Kapowsin.
CV freshman Colton Orrino lost 5-4 in overtime. Senior Terrill Wilson of South Kitsap was awarded a point with 5 seconds left in overtime because Orrino, who rallied to beat the defending state champion in the semifinals, was given his third caution for a false start. In the next match, Jarod Maynes, a four-time top-four placer for the Bears, lost to Joey Palmer of Rogers (Puyallup) 4-1.
Lakeside never had a chance for the team title, but the Eagles were proud of their accomplishment, scoring 112 points. Orting piled up 214½ points
“We have six freshmen in the varsity lineup,” 140-pound champion Josh Lauderdale said. “A second-place finish is a great accomplishment. Orting is a great team.”
The senior was a little emotional afterward, because he has two silver medals and a bronze from past state meets.
“It’s been a long time coming,” he said. “I’ve been thinking about this since I was a little kid. It’s an overwhelming experience to finally get it. It’s everything I ever wanted.”
He knew before the finals the odds were finally in this favor facing Dillon Miller of Cashmere. They had a four-year history of 10 previous meetings, with Lauderdale winning them all.
“I was very confident, but he’s a dangerous competitor, an athletic kid,” he said after the 6-2 decision. “I was confident, but I knew I had to wrestle my best.”
Lakeside senior Michael Baumgarden lost 6-3 to Danny Barajas of Royal in the 119-pound finals for his fourth top-four finish. Dallas Watkins fell 3-0 to Jordan Velasco of Omak at 215 pounds.
Colville 112-pound freshman Jesse Morrison, who won his first three matches by pins, lost to Josh Crager of Cascade Christian 12-2.
Riverside’s Nick DesRoches edged Roman Velazquez of Cashmere 2-1 for the 171 title.
Chewelah’s Will Peters defeated Riverside’s Colby Mead 9-1 in the 285-pound final.
Springdale had a pair of champions, the Kalugin brothers, win back-to-back titles.
It was a little anticlimactic for freshman Anfim at 125, as he won by injury default.
“I trained for this day for a long time and then I don’t get to wrestle is very disappointing,” he said.
Four-time finalist Conan Kalugin is again a champion after losing the last two titles, but he missed the adrenaline rush of his brother’s match before he pinned Orrin Gross of Lake Roosevelt in 3:20.
“It would have been cool if he had actually got to wrestle,” Conan said. “It feels good. It’s not quite as exciting as the first one, but a win’s a win.”
Reardan junior Niko Knezovich erased the disappointment of two empty trips to the finals by pinning Dalton Ginter of Pateros in 1:39 of the 189-pound final.
“It’s nice to finally make it,” he said. “I was always made fun of, (that) I was going to be a four-time state runner-up. I finally got the monkey off my back.”
There was one other area title because a pair of Almira/Coulee-Hartline teammates squared off at 285 pounds. Senior Zack Correll pinned junior Jesse Billups at 3:23. It was the third straight win for Correll in the postseason after Billups won twice in the regular season.
“It’s a little bittersweet, but that’s how it goes,” the champion said. “It’s tough. We know each other’s moves. We always have to try something new to win.”
Reardan’s Waylen Anderson lost to Gunnar Doggett of Liberty Bell 6-4 in the finals at 145.