Chandler Knight leads
Colville High went into last Friday and Saturday’s Mat Classic XXIV on a roll. The Indians, on successive weeks, had annexed the Northeast A and District titles and captured their first regional crown.
Expectations were high in the Colville camp that the Indians could finish in the top three or four among 1A elite in the Tacoma Dome.
CHS sent one of the classification’s largest contingents of wrestlers (eleven) to Tacoma: regional champions Chandler Knight (170), Trenton Welton (126) and Jesse Morrison (120), Tyler Ward (106), Ben Knight (113), Hunter LeCaire (182), Colyn Lindback (138), Grady Nelson (132), Tanner Smith (145), Aaron Buckley (120) and Julio Valencia (152).
Tied for fifth
Led by Chandler Knight’s runner-up finish at 170 pounds, Colville finished tied for fifth with Castle Rock (86 points).
Three-time defending champion Orting, as expected, ran away with the 1A team title again with 166 points.
Chelan, second to Colville in the regional tournament at CHS, finished second to Orting with 135.5 points. Zillah was third, 131.5 and Granger was fourth with 117.5.
Riverside was eighth with 76 points and Lakeside finished 11th at Mat Classic with 66 points.
The Northeast A League had three state champions—Kit Major of Riverside pinned Matt McCallum of Kiona-Benton in 5:06 at 132 pounds; Chase Fuson of Lakeside edged Alex Myrick of Royal, 3-2 at 160 pounds, and Dewey Bender of Riverside finished unbeaten by scoring a 4-3 win in triple overtime over John White of Ridgefield.
In addition to Knight’s second place finish, Welton and Morrison both finished fourth; Julio Valencia was fifth; Hunter LeCaire was sixth and Ben Knight was seventh.
Most of those wrestlers will return next season as the Indians move up to the Class 2A Great Northern League again for the two-year cycle.
CHS head coach Randy Cloke was disappointed that his Indians didn’t finish higher in the pantheon of Class 1A elite programs.
“You have to walk before you can run,” Cloke said of his team’s effort at Mat Classic. “We had some kids who wrestled well and turned in some incredible performances and others who weren’t able to give their best performances…that first round is a little tough and it was tough on us.
“We had some tough matches…it just didn’t happen for us…it goes that way. Sometimes it’s there and sometimes it isn’t. But I’m proud of the kids. We accomplished a lot of things this season.”
Cloke conceded that CHS had a “great run this season for not having a full line-up—it was really a remarkable run.”
Cloke was appreciative of the support all season and in Tacoma last Friday and Saturday.
“We had a great contingent over there,” he said. “It was a wonderful experience…but the coach and competitor in me is a little disappointed.
“At state, you have to bring your best.”
The Indians move up to the rarified air of the GNL and defending 2A champion and perennial power Deer Park.
Deer Park wins yet another title
The Stags won their fifth straight 2A wrestling championship on Saturday with 154 points, 20 points ahead of Centralia.
DP matched the second longest string of state titles (Moses Lake) and is one title away from tying Sedro Woolley, which won six straight from 2002 through 2007.
All nine Deer Park wrestlers who qualified for Mat Classic medaled. Jake Konzal (120 pounds) and Cole Harris (126) won state championships.
“The program is heading in the right direction,” Cloke added. “We are going to come after Deer Park. We are excited about that challenge.”
The 2A ranks will also be bolstered by perennial 1A champion Orting, who will also be moving up next fall.
See photos on page 4