TACOMA — The path to the podium at the Mat Classic can take many forms, but the end result is a spot at the end of the night with a state medal and flashbulbs popping to take your picture.
Sixteen Twin Harbors wrestlers experienced this on Saturday at the Mat Classic XXVI at the Tacoma Dome — six of them as third-place finishers.
Montesano landed three wrestlers at the top consolation-bracket spot on the podium — third place — to lead the locals. Raymond added two and Elma got one to round out the day.
Freshman Jacob Ellefson came into the day undefeated on the season and in the championship semifinals for the Bulldogs at the 1A 113-pound division.
In the semifinals, Ellefson ran into a buzzsaw in Lakeside-9 Mile Falls freshman Dalton Young. Young never allowed Ellefson room to move in a 7-0 win, Ellefson’s first loss of the year.
Ellefson shook off the loss by rolling past his final two opponents — Forks’ Alvaro Ortiz and Warden’s Miguel Canales — to take third.
“I’m pretty happy today, I placed,” Ellefson said. “I got my head back (after the semifinals) and wrestled as hard as possible. I think I did pretty well this season. This was a pretty good experience.”
Monte junior Anthony Louthan took the long road to his third-place finish in the 1A 170 division. Louthan lost his opening-round match on Friday (to an eventual championship finalist, Vashon Island’s Shane Anderson) and won matches in a row.
In the third-place match, Louthan took on Mount Baker’s Travis Lindsey and needed a last-second move to win. Tied at 4-4, Louthan grabbed a single leg on Lindsey and scored the takedown with 1.0 remaining for a 6-4 win.
Just before Louthan won his match, sophomore Kylar Prante took on Chewelah’s Connor Fulbright and kept control before sealing the win with a late third-period takedown for a 5-2 win.
“It was beautiful,” Montesano head coach Jeff Klinger said of Louthan’s late takedown. “All five of our guys won their final matches — three thirds and two sevenths. What else can you do? Those five, along with Tyler Izatt, have carried us all season in tournaments. Austin and Jacob are freshman, but are experienced in (folkstyle) nationals, Rupe and Prante wrestled really well and Anthony was fourth last year and did it the hard way this year. They’re good and will get better. They have the time to come up.”
Raymond finished with a back-to-back third-place finish on the day on the same mat — senior Hunter Borden at 182 B and sophomore James Hamilton at 220 B.
Borden, who suffered a loss in the championship semifinals on Friday to deny him a chance to defend his 2013 state title, mowed through his opponents.
Borden blasted Concrete’s Randall Beacham, 14-0, to get into the third-fourth place match and won that one by technical fall, 15-0 (4:12), over Mary Walker’s Lane Clifner.
Right after Borden won, sophomore Hamilton stepped on to the mat and decisioned Mary Walker’s Izzy Sungalu-Fononga, 5-1, for third place. Senior Brandon Johnson started Raymond’s run in the third-fourth place matches with a loss to Pateros’ Julio Espino, 6-1.
“I’m pleased with the way the weekend worked out,” Willapa Harbor head coach Preston Crow said. “Hunter had one match that he was off and that happens to everyone. He finished the tournament strong. This was good for the program and the senior finished wrestling well.”
Elma’s Brek McGaughy, whose name was mispronounced throughout the day (it is pronounced ‘McGoy’), never trailed in his third-fourth place match, but needed to hold off Warden’s Jerry Reyes, 6-4, to cap his wrestling career.
“It was a back and forth match and Brek got the final takedown,” Elma head coach Jason Dick said. “He’s come a long ways in his career. So, this isn’t bad for a guy who only won one match as a freshman.”
Aberdeen’s Jordon Logan had to repeat a bit of history to get into his third-fourth place match.
After losing in the championship semifinals to the defending state 2A 285 champion, Fife’s Monike Sarte, Logan took on his opening-match opponent, Port Angeles’ Roberto Coronel.
Tied at 2-2 after regulation, Logan was in the middle of being thrown to the mat by Coronel when he rolled the takedown into his advantage and pinned him to advance.
In the third-fourth place match, the Bobcat senior fell behind and rallied to trail, 4-3, with 43 seconds remaining in the third period. Logan released Coronel at 5-3 for the chance at a tying takedown, but a stall penalty was given to him in the final seconds for a 6-3 loss.
“I never thought I’d get here — I was ranked 11th coming in and was fourth out of regionals; I pulled some upsets to get fourth out of eighth,” Logan said. “I couldn’t be happier.
“This year, I came in with a goal of top-eight finish and I’m going to finish with a top-four finish,” Logan said. “I got paired with a No. 1 seed to start and I beat him to get to the third-fourth match, too. I couldn’t be more proud.”
Finishing fourth in their third-fourth place matches were Raymond’s Johnson, at 113; Ocosta’s Sam Quinby, at 106; and Raymond’s Grant Camenzind, at 160.
Hoquiam’s Jesse Velez won his first match of the day, but fell into the 1A 120 fifth-sixth place match against Tonasket’s Collin Aitchenson, who led 2-1 after the first period. Aitchenson took the down position to start the second period and Velez made his move to roll him over for the pin at 1:32.
Elma’s Austin Cristelli had a tough day on Saturday, beginning in the championship semifinals and finishing with an 0-3 record to take sixth in the 1A 152 division.
None of the Harbor wrestlers in these matches finished eighth, winning their final matches of the day.
The wrestlers were Montesano’s Austin Cain at 1A 132, Elma’s Tyson Dick at 1A 145, Montesano’s Taylor Rupe at 1A 195 and Hoquiam’s Taylor Walker at girls 170.