TACOMA – The back door was unkind to the Mead wrestling team.
Despite four state champs out of five finalists, Mead’s Panthers couldn’t match Tahoma’s depth.
Tahoma used a strong finish in placing matches to knock off favored Mead for the State 4A championship Saturday at the Tacoma Dome.
Tahoma finished with a record 190 points. Mead had 168.5, the most by a runner-up. Graham-Kapowsin took third (134) and Central Valley was seventh (75).
Ten of Tahoma’s 15 qualifiers placed while Mead had seven of 11.
Three Mead seniors captured state titles – Jeremy Golding (145 pounds), Sam Voigtlaender (170) and Jordan Rogers (182) – and sophomore Chandler Rogers (160) scored a repeat. Junior Tyler McLean was second.
“We were expecting to come in and win the tournament,” Voigtlaender said. “For us, it was one of those dreams that was just out of reach.”
Panthers coach Phil McLean was far from disappointed.
“I felt that we took care, for the most part, of everything we could do,” McLean said. “We had five finalists and four champs. They competed hard. That’s all you ever ask. The winning and losing as a team takes care of itself. It’s the journey we’re after, anyway, and it was a pretty good journey this year.”
Tahoma had the title wrapped up after the placing matches, building nearly a 30-point lead.
The Panthers had plenty to go after in the finals.
First up was Golding, who became Mead’s first wrestler in school history to capture a third state title before Jordan Rogers matched him later.
Golding and Grant Steen of G-K battled to a scoreless tie at the end of an action-filled first period.
Steen, who chose down to start the middle period, got an escape with 7 seconds to go in the period. But Golding promptly got a takedown at the buzzer.
Golding got an escape and a takedown for a 5-1 decision.
He said the third title was special.
“It sums up all my hard work in high school,” Golding said.
Golding reflected on the runner-up team finish.
“No excuses. They’re (Tahoma) tough,” he said.
For a third time in four matches this season, Moses Lake’s Nico Moreno got the best of McLean, topping the Panther 6-3 at 152.
Chandler Jordan (46-0) had to go the full 6 minutes for just the second time this season, and he was gasping for air after holding off Ryan Christensen of Woodinville 11-7. Both wrestlers were undefeated going into the final.
“I’ve got to be more prepared for that next year,” Rogers said of going the distance. “My freestyle technique really came in handy in the last round.”
Chandler Rogers wants to be a four-time champ – something that his brother fell short of largely because he suffered an emergency appendectomy the week before state his sophomore year.
“He’s (Jordan) kind of living out his dream of wanting to be a four-timer through me,” Chandler said.
The most emotional Mead champion was Voigtlaender.
Trailing 4-3, Voigtlaender got a takedown with 54 seconds remaining and rode out Dillon Thomas of Union for a 5-4 win.
Six Mead cheerleaders gave Voigtlaender a group hug.
“It’s the victory that’s meant the most to me this season,” Voigtlaender said. “It’s four years of hard work paying off at the end. (In the third) I’m thinking I’ve got to score and I’ve got to outwork him. The third period is where I shine in particular. That’s when I go when other guys don’t.”
Voigtlaender was disappointed not winning the team title.
“That will sting for a while, but the win for myself will definitely help to heal the wound,” he said.
Jordan Rogers finished 39-0, all victories by pin. He needed just 1:35 to take care of Joseph Gomez of G-K.
“It still doesn’t feel like I’m done wrestling high school,” said Jordan, who was 80-0 the past two years and 146-8 overall. “It will hit me eventually. Maybe on the bus ride home, maybe next week during school, maybe at Dapper Dan (next month in Pennsylvania). It will kind of be a sad moment, but it’s exciting to share one more state championship with my brother.”
Rogers wasn’t overly disappointed with the team finish.
“I guess four of five champions wasn’t enough to beat a team with 10 placers,” he said.
It was an all-Shadle Park final at 126.
The Highlanders’ Terrence McKinney told his coaches all season that if teammate Caleb Burger dropped to his weight, he’d qualify for the state final.
McKinney (40-1) proved prophetic. The one thing he wasn’t going to do was waste any time in the last match. He needed just 32 seconds to pin Burger.
Burger finished third at district and third at regionals. So it was obvious he was pleased with second at state.
“I was pinning all the kids that Caleb was going to have to wrestle here and I knew he was tougher than them,” McKinney said.
Shadle coach Shawn Howard said Burger was undersized at 132 and wouldn’t have fared as well in that weight at state.
McKinney suffered his lone loss late in the season. It proved as extra motivation at state.
Billy Goforth of Mt. Spokane captured a state title at 152, edging Emilio Alcantar of Hudson’s Bay 11-9.
Kyle Cosby of University took second at 285, falling to Ian Bolstad of Shorecrest 8-4 at 285.
Enumclaw captured the state title with 126 points. Shadle took fourth (75) and U-Hi was ninth (58).