TACOMA – Kaden Krouse wasn’t yet in high school when the idea of being a multiyear state wrestling champion struck him.
Saturday night at Mat Classic XXXII in the Tacoma Dome, Krouse reached the first level of elite status – three-time champion – with the possibility of becoming a four-timer still alive.
The Chewelah junior claimed the 2B/1B 170-pound title with a 13-3 major decision over Tonasket senior Austin Brock. Earlier, he defeated Paul Jones of Kittitas 13-4 in the semifinals.
Chewelah as a team couldn’t put much of a dent into Tonasket’s huge team performance, though, as the Tigers piled up 294.5 points to win the meet, more than 170 points ahead of their closest pursuers, Liberty and Chewelah.
“Eighth-grade year a guy named Justin Newby, who runs the USA tournaments in Washington, came into our high school and got me involved in folkstyle, freestyle and Greco,” Krause said. “I came here and watched my brother place at state four times, and I knew that I wanted to come out on top here four times.”
Against Brock, Krause got an early first-period takedown and steadily built a lead from there in a match delayed a handful of times by cuts to both wrestlers.
“I tried not to go big today,” Krause said. “I just focused on ‘every point counts’ and went out there and gave everything.”
Chewelah coach Kim Hogan, who returned to the helm this year but coached for many years earlier, has never coached a three- or four-timer.
“Just to be part of this is a good feeling,” he said. “Kaden’s got all the tools: great balance, great strength, good positioning. Probably just about any coach could get him here.”
With a year and a full season of high school and freestyle wrestling to go before that coveted four-time status can be achieved, it’s possible nerves, a feeling of not wanting to ruin a masterpiece of a career might be possible.
“That could be,” Hogan said. “But I think with wrestling, the guys who excel are tough enough to get there anyway.”
Also in 2B/1B, Reardan’s Rylan Anderson won the championship at 152 with a 6-4 decision over Bodie Paul of Liberty Bell. Anderson pinned Gilberto Palma of White Swan during the second round of their semifinal.
In 1A, Deer Park sophomore Nathan Gregory kept his three- and four-timer hopes alive, winning his second title at 120, with his third victory of the season over Colville’s third-ranked Logan Hydom.
“It feels great. It shows hard work pays off,” Gregory said.
Gregory and Hydom were tied at 4 with 30 seconds left when the officials called for a restart with both wrestlers standing, effectively setting up a sudden-death situation. Gregory scored the decisive takedown.
“My coaches always tell me, keep pressing, keep pushing the pace,” he said, explaining he had no preferred move in mind to use in that situation.
Gregory’s teammate, junior 132-pounder Levi Miller, also took home the first-place medal, winning a narrow 3-2 decision over Dominic Martinez of Royal. The top-ranked Miller finished fifth at state last season while he beat a wrestler coming off back-to-back second place medals.
Miller reached the finals after beating eighth-ranked Ariel Morales of Forks 11-0 in the semis.
Riverside’s Sammy DesRoches claimed the 1A 182-pound title, beating Port Townsend’s Dylan Tracer 6-3 after pinning Klahowya’s Hunter Wallis during the second round of their semifinal.
Liberty’s top-ranked senior Charlie Herrington became a two-time winner when he claimed the 285-pound championship with a 4-1 win over Nicholas Schurger of Springdale. He advanced to the finals with a 5-3 win over Ilwaco’s Michael Rodda.
Liberty junior Maizy Feltwell reached the girls final at 120 with a last-second pin of Burlington-Edison’s Cora Orton, but she was pinned by North Kitsap senior Holly Beaudoin in the second round.
Beaudoin finished second at state the last three seasons, while Feltwell recorded fifth-place finishes in 2018 and 2019.
Others who reached the semifinals but were turned away short of the championship round were, in 2A, 152-pounder Jackson Showalter of Cheney; in 1A, 145-pounder Takoda Morrison; in 2B/1B, Reardan 126-pounder Ethan Hull, Chewelah 132-pounder Justyce Acosta, Colfax 182-pounder Caden Noha and Chewelah 220-pounder Cole Davis.