On a mission: Decatur's Tillman snags state title

Decatur High School junior Tevyn Tillman reacts after winning the 285-pound state championship at Saturday
Decatur High School junior Tevyn Tillman reacts after winning the 285-pound state championship at Saturday's Mat Classic XX tournament inside the Tacoma Dome.
— image credit: Casey Olson/The Mirror

By CASEY OLSON, The Mirror

It was the match Tevyn Tillman had been waiting a year to wrestle.

Ever since the chiseled Decatur High School junior lost in the semifinals of last year’s Mat Classic and ended up finishing in fifth place in the 285-pound bracket, he had only one thing on his mind — winning the 2008 state championship.

Mission accomplished.

Tillman dominated a familiar foe in the 285-pound championship Saturday night inside the Tacoma Dome at Mat Classic XX. The Decatur junior beat Kentridge senior Le’Roi Edwards, 7-0, in the state title match.

“I worked my butt off for this,” Tillman said. “I should have been here last year, but I lost in the semifinals. I just wanted to get back here and win it. It made me work even harder.”

Tillman dominated the heavyweight bracket to become Decatur’s third-ever state wrestling champion. Ryan Trotter won the 103-pound title in 2002 and Kyle Bressler garnered back-to-back 189-pound championships in 2003 and ‘04.

Tillman gave up only four points during his four matches in Tacoma. He beat Lewis and Clark’s Andre Taylor in his opener Friday, 7-1, then downed Emerald Ridge’s Braedan Binkiewicz in the quarterfinals, 8-3. Tillman then pinned Moses Lake’s Tad Harman in the semifinals in 1:03, setting up a much-anticipated match with Edwards.

The two South Puget Sound League North Division foes had not actually wrestled against each other during the postseason until Saturday night. Edwards injury defaulted in the championship match to Tillman at both the SPSL North Tournament and the Region II Tournament because of a nagging ankle injury.

“He had to do what he had to do,” Tillman said. “He didn’t want to go out and wrestle if he wasn’t 100 percent. But it was nice to finally wrestle him.”

Edwards, who will play offensive line in the fall at the United States Air Force Academy, was even more dominant than Tillman leading up to the state championship match. Edwards pinned all three of his opponents in the preliminary rounds before never threatening Tillman in the title match.

“I’m just going to go home and sleep,” Tillman said. “I will work even harder to repeat next year.”

Tillman’s state championship led a group of 10 wrestlers from the Federal Way School District at the 2008 Mat Classic.

Beamer teammates Trevor Mills (130 pounds), Tyler Enos and David Sullivan all finished in the top-seven in their respective weight classes.

Mills, a junior, rolled into the semifinals Friday, beating Woodinville’s Victor Schrenk and Ferris’ Josh Rettinghouse. But his winning streak ended in the semifinals by the defending state champion, Tahoma’s Kevin Tao, 10-6. Mills ended up in fifth place, which is the same position he earned on the podium last year as a sophomore. He also lost in the semifinals at the 2007 Mat Classic.

Enos, a junior, was seventh at 135 and Sullivan finished sixth at 215 pounds.

Like Mills, Decatur senior Spencer Kabalac also advanced into the semifinals before losing to Gonzaga Prep’s Chris Tripplet, 7-3, in the 145-pound division. Kabalac eventually beat Graham-Kapowsin’s Alex Barley, 4-2, to take fifth place.

Other district placers included Federal Way senior Jacob Conklin (seventh at 152 pounds) and Jefferson sophomore Ivan Mokomol (eighth at 119 pounds). Beamer senior Corey Obungen (130), Federal Way’s Jon Detzler (215) and Decatur’s Darren Faber (189) all failed to place in the top-eight.

Lake Stevens captured its second straight Class 4A state championship, holding off Graham-Kapowsin, 145-139.5. Decatur ended up 16th with 33 points and Beamer was 24th with 25 points.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565,

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