TACOMA -- Most of the hard work may have been done on the first day of the tournament, but Raymond’s Hunter Borden finished what he started and North Beach’s Daniel Fruh gained title-round experience on Saturday night.
Borden won the 182-pound division title, while Fruh finished second in the heavyweight division in the state 2B portion of wrestling’s Mat Classic XXV at the Tacoma Dome.
Borden secured Raymond’s first state title since 2009 by taking down Lake Roosevelt’s Sean Waters, 6-3.
Fruh attempted to become North Beach’s first-ever state wrestling champion, but lost to Wilbur-Creston’s Damon Dixon by pin at 38 seconds.
After the championship finals, two Twin Harbors teams finished in the top 10 in the team standings — Elma, sixth in the 1A tournament and Raymond, eighth in the 2B tournament.
Borden vs. Waters
Borden, a junior, handled the pressure of the state tournament on Friday, first by shaking off a second-place finish in the regional tournament the week before and second by winning his first two state tournament matches to get to Saturday’s final.
“I was really nervous beforehand,” Borden said, who went 0-2 in his first two appearances at state. “I was worried. I didn’t feel like I could score my points on takedowns and scrambles on him. I just kept on sprawling and working on him. When I got that last takedown, I felt pretty sure I would win it.”
“He was just nervous; he never won a match at state until Friday,” Raymond head coach Preston Crow said. “He just needed to get the nerves out and work. He knew he could beat him, I knew he could beat him and I think (Waters) knew that Hunter could beat him.
“He lost in regionals, got caught and I think that took the pressure off of him going in,” Crow added. “It did wake him up.”
Waters, who was six inches shorter than Borden (31-2 this season), scored the first takedown of the match after a series of hand-fighting with Borden. The senior threw Borden to the mat for a 2-0 lead.
Borden escaped, then nearly got his own takedown as the buzzer sounded, down 2-1.
With Borden in the down position to start the second, the match turned for the Raymond junior. A quick escape tied the match, 2-2, then Borden aggressively kept pressure on Waters with takedown attempts.
The pressure paid off with a takedown at the second-period buzzer at 4-2.
Waters started in the down position in the third and escaped Borden with 1:30 left in the match. Borden held the lead and fended off Waters’ takedown attempts before scoring a spinning takedown around Waters to counter for a 6-3 lead with 37 seconds left.
From there, Borden kept Waters from scoring and celebrated a hard-fought state title.
“He’s the hardest worker on the team, always with a big smile on his face in the (wrestling) room; he’s one of those kids you want to have and coach,” Crow added.
“I’d like to thank my parents, all of my coaches and people who supported me this season,” Borden concluded.
Fruh vs. Dixon
Fruh, a sophomore, stepped into his first Mat Classic and technically took care of his two matches on Friday.
On Saturday, Dixon, a senior, never allowed Fruh to turn the heavyweight match into a technical fight.
Dixon immediately went after Fruh on the opening whistle and nearly scored a single-leg takedown in the opening 10 seconds.
Fruh got out of the move and attempted his own takedown shot, a head-and-arm throw. Dixon slipped out of the move and executed his own head-and-arm throw that brought Fruh onto his back.
After a few seconds of positioning, the match was called in favor of Dixon in 38 seconds.
“Yeah, in his other matches, (Daniel) came out quick on his own, but he couldn’t get (Dixon) to back off,” North Beach head coach Rob Schreiber said. “If we could have gotten out of bounds to stop the momentum, Daniel would have been in a better position. The kid scrambled well. Daniel tried a throw and the kid pressured into him, using what he had. That’s the difference between being a senior who has been here before and a sophomore who hasn’t.
“Daniel had a great season,” Schreiber added. “We didn’t expect it at the beginning of the season, but he kept winning and winning. I think he did well for a kid whose closest teammate in the (wrestling) room is at 170 pounds. That taught him to be technical and that helped him on the first day here. Now he knows what it is like in the state finals and can take that into next season.”