McCluskey, Peckman, Lay snare South titles


The Mirror

Decatur’s Taylor McCluskey and Spanaway Lake’s David Marshall are getting pretty used to wrestling each other. And McCluskey is getting pretty used to winning.

The 215-pound Decatur senior downed Marshall, 7-5, in the championship final Saturday at the South Puget Sound League South Division sub-regional tournament at Todd Beamer High School. Saturday’s match was the fourth time the pair have faced off this season, with both winning two. But McCluskey’s victories have come in their last two meetings.

“Taylor has been coming on strong in the postseason,” said Decatur head coach Mike Bressler. “He has had a great season. He and Marshall put on a heck of a show (in the final). They about brought the house down. Taylor is a quality kid. When he cuts loose, he is very tough to beat.”

McCluskey’s sub-regional championship was one of three by Federal Way School District wrestlers Saturday at Beamer. The other wins came from Jefferson’s Kris Lay at 112 pounds and Decatur 145-pounder Myles Peckman.

Lay won a 6-2 decision over Emerald Ridge’s Nick Webster in the championship final after an excruciating 3-2 win over Bethel’s Josh Hawn in the semifinals.

Peckman’s championship came on a hard-fought 6-5 decision over Federal Way state-tournament veteran Nick Harteau in the 145-pound final. Harteau jumped out to a four-point lead early in the match before Peckman was able to fight back to garner the one-point victory.

“That’s a sign of a kid that can go deep into the postseason,” Bressler said. “That was a real tough final.”

The top-three finishers at each weight automatically earned a berth into Saturday’s Class 4A Region II Wrestling Tournament at Puyallup High School. Joining McCluskey, Lay, Peckman and Harteau in Puyallup will be the Todd Beamer threesome of 215-pounder Dominique Small, 145-pounder Cole Bixenman and 275-pounder Cameron Gillespie.

The regional tournament will include the 10 SPSL South schools and the 12 schools from the KingCo Conference. The top-four finishers in each weight division during Saturday’s meet will qualify for the Mat Classic, which is set for Feb. 18-19 inside the Tacoma Dome.

Small, who won a state championship in Georgia last season, finished third in the rugged 215-pound bracket after suffering a 2:55 pin at the hands of Marshall in a semifinal. Small did come back and pin Rogers’ Jason Hoyt in the third-fourth match.

Bixenman lost a 5-2 decision to Peckman in the 145-pound semifinal before earning the automatic regional berth with an 11-3 decision over Puyallup’s Frank Geiger in the third-fourth match.

Gillespie also finished third after losing in the semifinals. The senior beat TJ’s Stuart Roth in the third-fourth match, 5-3.

But Roth’s fourth-place finish at 275 also earned him a trip to Puyallup Saturday. Fourth-placers from the SPSL South sub-regional will wrestle a pig-tail match against the No. 5-placer from the KingCo League Saturday with the winner earning the eighth seed into the regional bracket.

Federal Way High School wrestlers Brian Miloscia (103 pounds), Dustin Holland (135) and Rodell Razor (140) will also wrestle pig-tail matches after finishing fourth.

As a team, McCluskey and Peckman’s performances earned the Gators a seventh-place finish at the 10-team sub-regional tournament. Rogers edged out Emerald Ridge for the championship. Federal Way finished eighth, Beamer was ninth and TJ was 10th.

“I was real pleased with my young kids,” Bressler said. “We had almost everyone make it to the second day and finished above all of the Federal Way schools.”

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565,

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