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WRESTLING: District wrestlers punch their tickets to the Mat Classic

To check out the complete brackets all the tournaments at Friday and Saturday's Mat Classic inside the Tacoma Dome, click here.

After a year’s hiatus, Thomas Jefferson senior Zeke Nistrian will be back at the Tacoma Dome.

At 152 pounds, Nistrian dominated his bracket Saturday at the Class 4A Region III Wrestling Championships at Shelton High School. Nistrian now advances to the Mat Classic Friday and Saturday in Tacoma. As a sophomore, Nistrian finished sixth at 152 after winning three matches, but missed qualifying last season.

The wrestling state championships kick off at 10 a.m. Friday inside the Tacoma Dome. Championship finals get started Saturday at 5 p.m. in the double-elimination tournament that will include six separate tournaments in 82 different weight classes under one roof.

Nistrian will be joined by a total of 17 wrestlers from the Federal Way school district at the Mat Classic, including six from Beamer, five from Federal Way, four from Decatur and two from Jefferson.

Nistrian easily got by Kentwood’s Austin Torres in the 152-pound regional championship Saturday in Shelton. The TJ senior won by technical fall, 16-1, after beating Central Kitsap’s Tyler Kahl in the semifinals, 7-1. Nistrian is looking to give the Raiders their second-straight individual state champion. Last year, Kyle McIntosh won the 4A 145-pound title.

But Nistrian wasn’t the only district wrestler to win a regional crown last weekend. Federal Way seniors Maria Manzueta and Jocie Weinberger picked up titles at the Region II Girls Tournament Saturday. The pair will be heading to Tacoma for the third time in their Eagle careers.

Manzueta won a rugged 7-5 decision over Vashon’s Madeleine Wolczko in the 119-pound final Saturday in Shelton and Weinberger beat Graham-Kapowsin’s Shayla Harris to win the 130-pound title. Weinberger has finished second at the last two Mat Classic’s.

The Eagle twosome will be joined at state by Bianca Arizpe and Axa Molina. Arizpe finished up in third place at 112 pounds and Molina was third at 119.

Class 4A Region II

The Todd Beamer Titans will have an impressive contingent of six wrestlers in Tacoma. All six who qualified for the Mat Classic were 145 pounds and below Saturday at the Region II Tournament at Skyline High School. Beamer finished in sixth place in the team standings behind region champion Graham-Kapowsin.

The Titans garnered three second-place trophies Saturday from Tre Uson (112), Ares Carpio (125) and Aron Set-Hiet (135). Uson lost 5-1 in overtime to Graham-Kapowsin’s Taylor Salzberg, Rogers’ Joey Palmer beat Carpio, 7-2, and Set-Hiet was pinned by Tanner Sturdevant in the finals.

Also advancing for the Titans were Brett Dykman (112), Deshar House (130) and Lance Gibson (145).

Joseph Coronell will be the lone Federal Way participant in the boys’ tournament. The 152-pounder finished second after losing a 9-6 decision to Spanaway Lake’s Zackery Bickford in the title match.

Class 4A Region III

Jefferson junior K.W. Williams will wrestle at his second straight Mat Classic after finishing second in the 189-pound bracket Saturday at Shelton.

Williams, along with Nistrian, helped the Raiders finish in 12th place in the team standings. Tahoma won the region title with 229 points, followed by South Kitsap (146).

Williams took South Kitsap’s Conner Hartman to the brink during the 189-pound championship. Williams led Hartman, who is unbeaten on the season, 6-4 entering the third and final round. However, Williams came up short in the final seconds to lose a 9-6 decision.

Class 3A Region III

As expected, the Enumclaw Hornets, Yelm Tornados and Kelso Highlanders battled for the Class 3A Region III tournament at Bonney Lake High School Saturday.

Enumclaw on the team title with 211 points, ahead of Yelm (199 points) and Kelso (185.5), thanks to eight wrestlers in championship matches. The Decatur Gators finished up in seventh place with a total of 86.5.

Despite competing in the extremely tough regional, Decatur still pushed four wrestlers to the Mat Classic, including a pair of finalists. The Gators heading for the Tacoma Dome include three sophomores, Nick Karis, Rowland Gaydosh and Kyle Gleed, and a senior, Rad Krysa.

Both Krysa and Gaydosh wrestled in championship matches on Saturday. Krysa was pinned by Kelso’s Riley Miller in the 119-pound title match in 5:33 and Gaydosh was pinned by Auburn Mountainview’s Lucas Huyber in 5:11 in the 171-pound final.

Karis finished up in third place in a tough 160-pound bracket. After losing in the semifinals to Bonney Lake’s Jake Lueders, Karis won an impressive 9-3 decision over Columbia River’s Joey Bellinger in the third-fourth match.

Gleed’s road to the Mat Classic was a little rougher than his teammates. The sophomore 285-pounder lost early in the tournament and was forced into a winner-to-state, loser-out match against Yelm’s Austin Brownell. But Gleed made quick work of Brownell, pinning him in just 17 seconds to finish fifth.

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