TACOMA — The opening day of the Mat Classic XXV was a challenging event for 37 Twin Harbors wrestlers at the Tacoma Dome on Friday.
For two Class 2B wrestlers, it was a banner day. For four Elma wrestlers, it was the halfway mark to the finals.
Raymond’s Hunter Borden and North Beach’s Daniel Fruh each won two matches in their weight divisions to clinch championship finals berths in the state 2B-1B tournament.
Elma’s Ryan Wilson, Matt Gamino, Tanner Sample and Tyson Dick also won two matches each and will walk into today’s Class 1A semifinals round one win from the championship finals.
Overall, 10 wrestlers, with the possibility of six more 2B wrestlers, will return to the Harbor on Saturday night with state medals around their necks. The championship finals are scheduled to start at 5:15 p.m.
The eight-man bracket for the small schools means wrestlers must be at the top of their games from the get-go. This was the case for both Borden and Fruh.
Borden, who was second last week at the Western Washington regional tournament in the 182 pound division, took control of his two matches on Friday. Starting against Almira-Coulee-Hartline’s Ean Hobbs, he cruised to a 10-4 victory.
In the championship semifinals, Borden took on Selkirk’s Garet Sax, who won the Eastern Washington 2B regional last week. In control, Borden got to the finals with a pin at 5:31.
Fruh owned a 285-pound division regional title going into the Mat Classic and the sophomore wasn’t fazed by the surroundings. Against Lake Roosevelt’s Octavio Alejandre, Fruh opened the tournament with a pin at 5:04.
In the championship semifinals, Fruh had to work a bit against Mary Walker’s Mark Dituri, but clinched his finals berth with a 9-4 decision.
Six other Twin Harbor 2B wrestlers will compete today for a chance at a state medal in loser-out matches — Ocosta’s Connor Maben (120), Drew Angelus (132) and Nikko Contreras (195); Raymond’s Grant Camenzind (145) and Matthew Boyes (195); and North Beach’s Elijah Towery (138).
Elma walked out of the Dome on Friday night with a great chance to see up to four of its wrestlers in the championship finals and a top-10 team finish as well.
Wilson parlayed his regional championship at 106 pounds into two smooth victories on Friday — an 11-0 major decision over Kalama’s Kurtice Lindsey in the opening round and a 9-1 major decision over Quincy’s Victor Salgado in the quarterfinals.
Gamino also had a big day at 113 pounds, taking out Chewelah’s Matthew Crise, 19-6, in the opener and Connell’s Jose Cervantes, 8-4, in the quarterfinals.
Sample registered a pin in his 132-pound opener, at 2:45 over Brewster’s Raf Varelas, then survived a grudge match against Eatonville’s Oscar Trinidad, 3-2, to advance.
Dick took the same route as Wilson and Gamino, dominating his two matches at 138 pounds — a 11-2 win over Goldendale’s Dean Enstad in the opener and a 10-0 shutout of Omak’s Alexander Aguilar in the quarterfinals.
“They’re all wrestling well right now; they will have some tough (semifinal) matches,” Elma head coach Jason Dick said, whose team is in sixth place in the 1A team race. “I’m proud of them. All of the hard work and dedication in the wrestling room is paying off. They have just as much of a chance as anyone to advance.”
In the consolation rounds, Elma’s Austin Cristelli is alive in the 145 division, while Hoquiam’s Jonathan Molina (152) and Sam King (girls’ 155 pounds) will compete today. Montesano will have one representative today, Anthony Louthan at 170 pounds.
“Our two seniors advanced to (today’s) matches; they needed wins to keep going and they did it,” HHS head coach Fidel Sanchez said. “We were happy to take five boys and two girls to state, but we know that we are a little behind some of the state-caliber wrestlers here. (Five of them) will come back next year and they’ll know what it is like to get here and that will benefit us in the future.”