(Tacoma, WA) You’ve probably heard of “Hot Takes” or “Quick Takes” well here’s our version of “Late Takes”. A week ago today Mat Classic 29 got underway in the Tacoma Dome with literally hundreds of wrestlers battling for personal and team glory. There are many, many great stories to be told but only a handful get touched on. In this “Late Take” Story we’ll hit on a few of the hundreds of matches that stood out to us and some other fun facts and observations. Before we get started let us say Congratulations to all those wrestlers who competed last weekend, regardless of how or where you finished, getting this far is truly a great accomplishment. Now on with the show!
New Mat Classic Format
Let’s address the elephant in the room and get it out of the way. The WIAA changed the format this year and instead of breaking up the consolation medal round and the Championship matches the new format would wrestle the 3 consolation brackets and upon completion of all consolation brackets for each weight class the Championship Match would take place immediately following the consolation matches.
The idea behind this was to try and hold the crowd longer. The previous format saw many people exit prior to the completion of all the Championship matches, with more athletes still competing in the later rounds, should have kept more people for a longer period of time.
The end results was the 4th and final session began at 2:30 in the afternoon and 7 hours later was finally completed at 9:30. Our live broadcast went the full 7 hours and the hope that more people would stick around later didn’t appear to work out. The Tourney did end about 40 minutes sooner than the previous year but the previous year had a longer break after the Semi-Finals where fans could leave and find something to eat instead of the over-priced Tacoma Dome concessions.
My final take-away was it was worth trying but I don’t see saving 40 minutes at the end of the night over-taking the absolute marathon 7+ hour session that wrapped up Mat Classic 29. I think a strong evaluation needs to be done before deciding how it should be formatted next year. From a selfish point of view I would encourage a return to the original format.
The Biggest Positive of the New Format
There was a real positive with the new format in one instance and that was the race for the 3A team title. Heading into the 220 weight class Bonney Lake held a 133-132 lead over Kelso. The Hilanders had a wrestler, Ricky Victoriano, still left to wrestle in the 5th place match. The Panthers also had a wrestler left, Sam Peterson who was in the Championship match.
Victoriano had to win to give Kelso a shot at the team title and Victoriano came through with a hard fought win over Prairie’s Bryan Person 3-1 and gave Kelso a 1-point lead 134-133. This match played out right in front of Peterson and his Bonney Lake teammates and when Victoriano won he knew not only his individual Championship was on the line but his entire team’s hopes were now on his shoulders.
This created the most dramatic match of the tournament in our view because of how quick Peterson realized what was riding on his match, but very little time to think about it. The bad thing about this drama was the P-A announcers didn’t seem to notice what was on the line and did not draw any attention to the match which ended up being the final match decided in the 220 weight class. It would have been nice if the fans closely watching the other matches that had been completed had known what was on the line on the NW corner mat.
The entire Kelso team became instant O’Dea fans as Freshman Dustyn Camacho gave Peterson, a Junior, all he wanted and in fact took a 2-0 lead. Peterson then ground out a 6-2 lead before giving up a 2 point reversal late in the match to make it a 6-4 final score and that is how Bonney Lake and Sam Peterson won State Championships.
First Win of Mat Classic
This was easy, how about a pin in just 9-seconds?! Marysville-Pilchuck’s Cole Daurie a Junior defeated Kelso’s Alan Luff in the blink of an eye to earn the 1st win of the entire Mat Classic Championships with the 9-second win in the 3A 106 weight class. Daurie would lose in the Quarterfinals to Bonney Lake’s Brenden Chaowanapibool who went on to win the Championship. Daurie would win his match to advance to Saturday and ultimately finished 4th overall.
Last Win of Mat Classic
This went to Tumwater’s Cy Hicks who defeated WF West’s Hunter Arredondo 3-1 in overtime. The 2 battled to a 1-1 tie and in sudden death it looked like Arredondo might have Hicks and getting ready to throw him but Hicks was able slip out and pulled Arrendondo down from behind for the match winning take-down. A thrilling match to wrap up MC29.
Incredible Run to History
Lakeside 9-Mill Falls Senior Dalton Young capped off an incredible and historical run when he not only won his 4th Mat Classic State Championship in the 1A 138 weight class, he finished his High School career without ever experiencing a loss finishing with a 170-0 record. He would go out in style as well with 4 pins including a 12-second win in the opener. Young would earn his 4th MC Gold Medal with a 2nd round pin over Deer Park’s Brent Hodgson in a time of 2:21.
Least amount of time on the Mat
Tahoma’s Kione Gill was impressive in his 4 matches as he won the 4A 195 title in the least amount of time. All 4 matches were 1st round pins. 1:00 in the opener, 1:26 in the Quarters, 1:15 in the Semi-Finals and then his longest match was a 97-second pin over Kennedy Catholics’ Bowen McConneville. Gill spent a grand total of 5:18 on the mat. This is less time than 1 full 3-round match.
We don’t need any Champions!
The Yelm girls won the State team Championship without having 1 wrestler win an individual title. The Tornados got 3 to the Finals but all 3 fell short and settled for 2nd. Phoenix DuBose at 115, Carly Smith at 125 and Ariana Zemke at 145 may not have won Titles but their efforts led the way for a Team Title. Interestingly enough the 2nd place team, Federal Way took 2nd just 6 points behind on the backs of just 2 wrestlers. Tally Thomas with 4 pins to win the 170 classification and Mariah Stewart at 235 took 2nd but she racked up 3 pins of her own on her way to the Title match. Between the 2 Eagles they wrestled 8 matches and got 7 pins, ironically Stewart was pinned in the Championship match by Washougal’s Abby Lees so all 8 matches resulted in pins.
Who needs a bye? We Don’t!
In the B tournament they don’t have enough wrestlers to fill out complete 16 wrestler brackets, only 12 which gives 4 wrestlers byes in the 1st round. There were only 2 wrestlers to win Championships that did not receive a bye. At weight class 113 Kaleb Horn of Lake Roosevelt wrestled 4 matches to win his title and at 160, Gage Burtenshaw from Darrington also wrestled 4 matches to get to the top of the platform. All other Class B Champions wrestled 3 matches.
ESN’s version of the “Matties” our Post Tournament Awards
This is a fun look at some of the great characters that we caught on camera.
The best celebration we caught on camera was Kalama’s Jacob Posey’s back flip after winning the B 145 Championship.
Best Dressed Coach
Is there even a question??? Here’s the hands down winner Lincoln’s Greg Ford during the 182 Championship Match that the Abe’s JJ Dixon won 4-3 over Meadowdale’s Liam Ball. Pretty sure Coach Ford’s suit was the determining factor. : )
Didn’t Break a Sweat Award
Tahoma’s Kione Gill not only won the 4A 195 Title he did so without breaking a sweat beating each of his opponents with 1st round pins. He finished off all 4 opponents in less time than a regulation 6-minute match.
Last Second Winner
Puyallup’s Brooklyn Bartelson wins the last second award in the girls 120 Title Match. Bartelson tangled with Battle Ground’s Sierra Joner and it was deadlocked 1-1 with time ticking down in the 3rd round. Bartelson then got a throw and takedown literally at the buzzer. After a discussion the Officials ruled the takedown was just before time expired and awarded the 2 points to Bartelson for a 3-1 win.
Best Curls, Sorry Ladies!
Dew Rogers of Shadle Park won the 3A 160 Title but also the best Dew, look at those curls!
Best Name Award
There were several in consideration that are just cool names. It’s a bit unfair but some people are just born into cool last names then it’s up to the parents to come through with the perfect first name. There were many that just sound like they were born to wrestle, but none more were “Born to Wrestle” than Bethel’s Dante Springsteen! The last name of the Boss with a powerful 1st name that just jumps out and Dante did not disappoint with the 3A 160 Title.