TACOMA – Usually coaches, especially wrestling coaches, are guarded after the first day of a state tournament.
Count Mead coach Phil McLean as more optimistic than guarded, though. He’s not declaring a 4A state championship yet at Mat Classic XXIV, but his Panthers made an impressive opening-day statement at the Tacoma Dome.
Favored to capture a state title, Mead moved seven into this morning’s semifinals. Here’s why McLean isn’t even close to declaring what others have anointed his team as – hometown favorite Tahoma matched the Panthers’ quarterfinal performance.
“That’s a pretty good day,” McLean allowed, an ear-to-ear grin pinned on his face. “I thought we could get five and two others had outside shots. Seven is the perfect number. If everything had gone great we could have gotten eight. But I’m not complaining.”
Tahoma posted 92 points, 13.5 ahead of Mead. Central Valley, which put two into the semifinals, is sixth (42).
Advancing into the semifinals were David Munding (138 pounds), Jeremy Golding (145), Tyler McLean (152), Chandler Rogers (160), Sam Voigtlaender (170), Jordan Rogers (182) and Cody Bocook (285).
The two names not traditionally bunched with Mead’s middleweight gantlet this season were the bookends – Munding and Bocook.
“They did a great job,” McLean said. “He (Munding) beat the best kid on his half of the bracket in the quarters. He did himself a favor, and he wrestled great. He really stepped up and surprised me.”
Not surprising were two-time state champ Golding and the defending champion Rogers brothers. They dominated their opponents.
In the quarterfinals, Golding got out to a 7-0 lead before registering a pin at the 3:40 mark.
“My first match was a little tough,” said Golding, almost apologizing that he won his opener by pin.
“I had to get my first-match jitters out of the way. I was a little funky. But I got all the crud out.”
Tyler McLean, a junior, missed state last year after suffering a knee injury. He couldn’t wait to get back this season.
He won by technical fall in his opener, then by shutout (7-0) in the quarters.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Tyler McLean said as he ran in place for a postmatch cool-down while talking with a reporter.
McLean said the Panthers were inspired this week by a guest motivational speaker – former Lakeside coach Scott Jones.
“He told us don’t worry about being at a big place,” McLean said, referencing the concrete mausoleum otherwise known as the Tacoma Dome. “He said it’s just another tournament. We’ve just got to go wrestle. I needed to hear that.”
Like his dad, Tyler was impressed with his teammates Friday.
“I like the way we’re wrestling,” he said. “We’re wrestling hard.”
Tahoma and Mead will go head to head in just one semifinal.
“They brought 15 to state and they have more in consolation than we do (one),” McLean said. “It’s funny. You’re fired up on one end because you got seven into the semifinals and you lose a few and those are the ones you really can’t let go of – the ones you coulda, woulda, shoulda. We get a little greedy I guess. It’s really an emotional extreme from one end to the other.”
CV put two into the semifinals, Colton Orrino (126) and Kurt Beck (182).
3A: You could argue that University junior Ryan Gabel (138) has had nothing but bad luck in his first two state appearances.
As a freshman, he was in the middle of the match that would have earned him a medal when a referee disqualified him for using an illegal mouthpiece.
Last year, his state tournament didn’t even get out of the gate when doctors disqualified him because of a skin condition they thought was contagious.
“It was a nine-day-old cold sore,” U-Hi coach Don Owen said.
Gabel was back Friday. He won his opening match 8-0 and was ahead 3-2 early in the third period against Lucas Somera of Enunclaw, a defending state champ.
Gabel tried a shot but overextended himself. Somera made Gabel pay, catching him in a nearside cradle for a pin with 52 seconds remaining.
“Even though the kid’s a defending state champ, we were probably favored in the match,” Owen said. “He made two mistakes that the kid scored on both times. That was probably one of his worst matches he’s had all year. He’s had some really, really bad luck.”
Gabel bounced back in the consolation round, extending his state appearance to today.
Owen was proud that Gabel bounced back 90 minutes after losing.
“It’s very disheartening that he doesn’t have a chance to be in the state championship match, but He fought back,” Owen said. “He’s worked really hard. Bad things happen to good kids sometimes.”
U-Hi advanced two to the semifinals: Adrian Orndorff (152) and Kyle Crosby (285).
Shadle Park advanced two into the semifinals, both at the same weight – Terrence McKinney and Caleb Burger at 126.
North Central got Mitchell Bocook through at 145, and Mt. Spokane sent Billy Goforth onward at 152.
2A: Centralia finished the first day with a one-point lead over four-time state champ Deer Park, 68-67.
Both advanced six into the semifinals.
Moving on for Deer Park were: Jake Konzal (120); Cody Dehn and Cole Harris, who will face off in the semifinals at 126; Joe Grabel (138); Dylan Miller (160); and CJ Rodriguez (220). Other area semifinalists are: Alex Rockstrom (132) of East Valley, Braydan Berezay (152) of EV, Brock Beeler (170) of Clarkston and Cameron Schlotter (195) of Cheney.
1A: The Northeast A moved 11 through to the semifinals.
Lakeside of Nine Mile Falls was in sixth with 19 points and Riverside was a point back.
Colville and Chewelah each advanced three and Lakeside and Riverside two apiece while Freeman has one still in title contention.
The 11 are Jesse Morrison (120) of Colville, Kit Major (132) of Riverside, Trenton Welton (138) of Colville, Russell Smith (152) of Chewelah, Taylor Glidewell (152) of Freeman, Chase Fuson (160) of Lakeside, Chandler Knight (170) of Colville, Cole Schwartz (182) of Chewelah, Justin Hause (195) of Lakeside, Asa Schwartz (195) of Chewelah and Dewey Bender (220) of Riverside.
2B/1B: Seven area wrestlers advanced to the state finals. Reardan (84.5), which is in second to Warden (112) advanced Nathan Sorci (132), Charlie Eldred (152), Niko Knezovich (182) and Jace Malek (220). Others were Daniel Stauffer (138) of Davenport, Kyle Kirkendall (145) of Republic and Jesse Billups (285) of Almira/Coulee-Hartline.