The journey to the Mat Classic XXVI ends on Friday morning when six state tournament will run concurrently on the floor of the Tacoma Dome.
For Twin Harbors schools and their wrestlers, all of the season’s (and the years before that) work come to fruition in the state’s marquee events.
Based off season performances, several wrestlers will have a good opportunity to stand atop the podium as state champions.
The tournament begins at 10 a.m. Friday and will run until completion. On Saturday, only the state placers will compete, starting at 10 a.m., and the state championship matches will start at 5 p.m.
Nine Harborites will begin as regional champions, earning a top seed and a better spot in the brackets to advance through. Class 4A through girls tournaments feature 16-wrestler brackets, while the Class B tournament is an eight-man bracket.
Raymond senior Hunter Borden is the Harbor’s lone returning state champion. At the Class B 182 division, Borden is the top seed heading into the weekend and is ranked No. 1 in the state by the Washington Wrestling Report (WWR).
Borden defeated Lake Roosevelt senior Sean Waters, 6-3, to win the 2013 state title. Raymond is ranked fifth as a team by WWR, which determines its team ranking based on projected finishes at the Mat Classic.
Joining Borden as a seeded wrestler in the B tournament are North Beach’s Daniel Fruh (285) and Ocosta’s Connor Maben (120), Brian Hart (160) and Daniel Helman (285).
Fruh qualified for the state title match at 285 last year and lost to Wilbur-Creston senior Damon Dixon by fall at :37. Freh is ranked No. 1 in the B 285 and seeded first, with Helman seeded fourth on the other side of the bracket.
Ocosta brings the largest contingent of wrestlers — seven — and it is ranked No. 10 by the WWR entering the B tournament.
In the Class 1A tournament, Elma has four wrestlers ranked in the top-four spots and brings three regional champions to the dome.
Senior Tanner Sample, a three-time state qualifier, finished third in last year’s tournament and is ranked second at 126 pounds. Joining Sample is senior Tyson Dick, a four-time state qualifier who is ranked third at 145. Dick finished fourth last year and will have to contend with Connell’s Robert Orozco, a 1A 145 state champion this year.
Senior Austin Cristelli, a two-time state qualifier, placed seventh last year at 145 and is ranked fourth at 152. League rival Lucas Eastman is ranked No. 1 and Eastman lost in the state title match in overtime to Connell’s Orozco at 145.
Senior Brek McGaughy is a first-time state qualifier and will come in as a regional champion. He is ranked third at 220, but will have a returning state champion in Chelan’s Asa Schwartz in his bracket.
Montesano has one regional champion moving into state, but also have one other state placer from last year’s tournament returning.
Freshman Jacob Ellefson, a veteran of the Montesano Mad Dogs youth wrestling club, is undefeated this season at 113 and is ranked third overall. He will be joined by Kylar Prante, a sophomore two-time qualifier who is ranked No. 4 at 160, and one state placer from 2013 — junior Anthony Louthan (fourth at 170).
Hoquiam senior Kenny Huffman will lead the Grizzlies’ team into state as their lone regional champion at 182.
In the girls tournament, Hoquiam senior Taylor Walker, a three-time state qualifier, is ranked fourth at 170 pounds and is the Harbor’s lone ranked wrestler in the tournament.
Here is a full list of the qualifiers for this weekend’s Mat Classic XXVI, arranged by school:
Aberdeen — Tavo Sanchez (170), Jordon Logan (285). Elma — Tanner Sample (126), Tyson Dick (145), Austin Cristelli (152), Brek McGaughy (220). Hoquiam — Shiianna Anderson (106-girls), Jesse Velez (120), David Molitor (132), Jenna Doll (145-girls), Tahj Malone (160), Taylor Walker (170-girls), Alex Valliere (170), Kenny Huffman (182), Karisa Selin (235-girls). Montesano — Tyler Izatt (106), Jacob Ellefson (113), Austin Cain (132), Kylar Prante (160), Anthony Louthan (170), Taylor Rupe (195). North Beach — Olivia Fruh (235-girls), Daniel Fruh (285). Ocosta — Sam Quinby (106), Kaleb Orton (106), Coby Christian (113), Connor Mayben (120), Bryce Hongell (145), Brian Hart (160), Daniel Hellman (285). Raymond — Brandon Johnson (113), Grant Camenzind (160), Shiloh Borden (170), Hunter Borden (182), James Hamilton (220), George Crow (220). South Bend — Joseph Lewis (120), Matthew Lewis (126), Marcos Perales (285).