Sports

Harteau, Lay snag regional titles

By CASEY OLSON

The Mirror

The third time was the charm for Nick Harteau.

The Federal Way High School senior wrestler finally got the best of Decatur’s Myles Peckman Saturday night in the 145-pound championship at the Region II Wrestling Tournament at Puyallup High School. Harteau scored on a reversal with less than 10 seconds remaining in the match to win an 8-7 decision and snare his second-straight berth into Friday and Saturday’s Mat Classic XVII state wrestling tournament inside the Tacoma Dome.

“Finally,” Harteau said with a sigh. “He has kind of edged me out in our other matches.”

Peckman had won a pair of close decisions over Harteau in two previous tournament championships before Saturday. The Decatur senior downed Harteau, 6-5, to claim last week’s SPSL South sub-regional tournament title and also won 6-2 in the championship match of the Lynden High School Tournament Jan. 22.

“This is the only thing I’ve been thinking of since the Lynden Tournament,” said Harteau, who lost two straight at last year’s Mat Classic as a 140-pounder.

Peckman, who fell to 31-4 on the season with the loss, looked like he was going to make it three in a row over Harteau early in Saturday’s 145-pound championship. The senior built up a solid 5-1 lead before allowing Harteau to claw back into the match.

“It’s kind of cool because I grew up with him and we kind of grew distant (after going to different schools),” Harteau said about Peckman.

Harteau’s Mat Classic will kick off Friday morning with a first-round match against Lake Stevens junior Kai Vanleuven, who finished fourth at the Region I Tournament last week. Peckman will wrestle Stanwood senior Riley Cornett (third in Region I) in his opening match at state.

Harteau wasn’t the only Federal Way district wrestler to add a regional title to his resume. Thomas Jefferson senior Kris Lay continued his postseason roll by cruising to the 112-pound title Saturday night.

Lay was never tested during his three matches at Puyallup — winning 13-1 in the opening round, 11-0 in the semifinals and downing Emerald Ridge’s Nick Webster 11-3 in the championship. Lay beat Webster 6-2 last week to win the sub-regional title.

“I’m working a lot harder this year,” Lay said. “I’m spending five hours in the gym every day wrestling. I’m just trying to get better.”

This will be Lay’s first appearance at Mat Classic. Last year, as a junior, Lay blew his shoulder out at a midseason tournament in Ellensburg and didn’t return until the postseason, where he finished one spot from a state appearance at the 2004 regional tournament.

“I’m just doing what I didn’t do last year,” said Lay, who improved to 24-4 on the season. “I’m just going to do my best and hopefully I can get first (at state).”

Lay will take on Auburn senior Maurice Lopez in the opening round of the Mat Classic at 10:20 a.m. Friday. Lopez was fourth at the Region I Tournament.

Harteau, Lay and Peckman will be joined in the Tacoma Dome by six other Federal Way school district wrestlers — Beamer’s Dominique Small (215 pounds), Cole Bixenman (145) and Cameron Gillespie (275), Jefferson’s Stuart Roth (275), Federal Way’s Rodell Razor (140) and Decatur’s Taylor McCluskey (215).

The three representatives from Beamer are the school’s first-ever participants at the Mat Classic and Small has a pretty good shot at bringing home the Titan’s first sports state title.

Small got caught Saturday night in the 215-pound championship by Eastlake’s Steve Rowe. After a solid first two rounds in the final, where Small had Rowe (33-3) on his back twice en route to building an 8-3 lead, the Beamer senior seemed to tire. Rowe used a bear hug midway through the final period to earn the pin and the regional title.

Small earned the spot in the championship match with a solid 10-7 decision win over McCluskey in the semifinals. It was Small’s second win over McCluskey, who finished in third place, this season.

“I kind of came out flat-footed,” McCluskey said. “I think I was afraid to lose. You can’t let that get to you.”

Small will open up Mat Classic against Olympic’s A.J Weber and McCluskey will take on Battleground’s Duncan St. Clair.

The biggest surprise of the regional tournament might have been the performance of TJ’s Roth. The 275-pounder rolled to second place after finishing fourth at the SPSL South tournament a week earlier.

Roth was pinned by Spanaway Lake’s Jason Marshall in the final match after winning three matches in a row, including an exciting 11-9 overtime win over Bethel’s Jeremy Williams in the semifinals that clinched a state berth.

Roth will take on Mariner’s Chris Miller in the opening round of Mat Classic Friday at 12:50 p.m.

Gillespie, Razor and Bixenman all finished in fourth place at the regional tournament, earning first-round matches against No. 1-seeds from other regions Friday at state. Gillespie will wrestle Lake Steven’s Clint Osborn, Razor will take on Auburn’s Kurt Swartz and Bixenman will be matched with Tahoma’s Andrew Johnson Friday morning.

Notebook

• Friday’s opening round of Mat Classic XVII will start at 9 a.m. and run until 1 p.m. and quarterfinal and consolation bracket matches will run from 4:10 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. All-day passes are $13 for adults and $9 for students and senior citizens. Two-day passes are $20 and $14.

• Puyallup junior Whitney Conder will be the first Class 4A girl to wrestle at Mat Classic after placing third at 103 pounds at the Region II tournament.

• The South Puget Sound League South Division wrestlers dominated their KingCo League competitors for the second year in a row Saturday. Wrestlers from the SPSL South will occupy 43 of the 56 state berths. Last year, SPSL South wrestlers had 37 of the 56 Mat Classic entries.

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