The number of wrestlers who have won four state high school titles at Mat Classic grew by two this year, pushing the select list to 15.
Orting junior Alex Cruz stepped off the mat, less than two minutes removed from securing his third title, and was already making plans on becoming member No. 16.
“All my focus now will be on winning that fourth title,” Cruz said. “It starts here.”
Cruz picked up his third state crown, defeating Ty Peth of Burlington-Edison, 3-0, in the 126-pound finals at the Class 2A state championships at the Tacoma Dome on February 18.
Cruz, however, was not the only wrestler to claim his third championship as Bonney Lake junior Brandon Kaylor won the 113-pound division in the 3A classification and will also be attempting to join the rare four-time club next season.
North Central’s Clai Quintanilla and Dalton Young of Lakeside (9 Mile Falls) both became four-time state champions, joining a group that already includes two Orting wrestlers in Drew Templeman (2012) and Fred Green (2015).
Cruz’s individual title helped the Cardinals finish second overall as a team in 2A with 137.5 points. Toppenish successfully defended its team title by notching 157 points, while White River came in third (112.5).
It is the second consecutive year Orting has finished second and the fifth straight season the team has placed in the top 3.
“We just keep bringing those new guys in and tell them to have fun and never worry about losing, just keep wrestling,” said Cruz, who won the 106-pound title as a freshman and at 113 last year. “Just give 100 percent and everything else takes care of itself.”
That creed has certainly resulted in success for the program as Cruz became the 40th state champion in school history – good for fourth among all high schools in the state.
Kaylor edged Mount Spokane sophomore Blake Haney, 3-2, in his championship match. The victory helped the Panthers claim their first 3A state team title as they outpointed runner-up Kelso, 137-134.
Kaylor was one of three Bonney Lake wrestlers to earn state titles. Sophomore Brenden Chaowanapibool kept the 106-pound championship in the Panther family by pinning Mount Spokane freshman Jarret Sharp (5 minutes, 23 seconds) in the finals. Kaylor had won the past two titles in the weight division.
Junior Sam Peterson closed out the night for Bonney Lake, winning the 220-pound championship with a 6-4 victory over O’Dea’s Dustyn Camacho.
Mason Sabin nearly gave the Panthers a fourth champion, but the junior fell in the 145-pound finals to Stanwood’s Mason Phillips, 20-12.
Orting senior Ben Gore, seeking his third career title after winning at 120 as a freshman and 145 last year, lost in the 152-pound finals, 5-2, to Toppenish’s Andres Aguilera.
The Cardinals finished with nine state placers, the most for the team since 2011 when they won the team championship with 10 placers.
In the girls’ state tournament, Wilson junior Flor Parker-Borrero pinned Yelm’s Ariana Zemke in 1:55 in the 15-pound finals to pick up her third title. She will have a chance next season at becoming only the fourth female ever to win four state championships.
One member already on that list is Puyallup graduate Jordyn Bartelson, who capped her high school career by winning her second consecutive 120-pound title.
Bartelson’s sister, Brooklyn Bartelson, triumphed in the same weight division this year. The senior had finished second twice and third once at the state tournament, but scored a last-second two-point takedown to defeat Sierra Joner of Battle Ground, 3-1, in the title match.
“I knew it was going to be close,” Bartelson said about her late victory, “but I thought I would get her in the end. It just feels great to finish it off with a title, especially after being out for six weeks with a shoulder injury. That was tough to battle back from. So with all that’s happened this just feels incredible.”
Bonney Lake junior Dreakeanna Adair became the second Panthers female wrestler to win a state championship, after she captured the 190-pound title.
Senior Erin Redford finished first at 130 pounds, helping the White River girls finish fifth overall as a team.
Additional local state champions included White River’s Nate Moore (2A, 145), Bethel’s Dante Springsteen (3A, 160), Lincoln’s J.J. Dixon (3A, 182), Puyallup’s Joe Franich (4A, 138) and Curtis’ Calhoun Helmberger (4A, 285).