Decatur's Loera-Sanchez fourth at Mat Classic


The Mirror

The floor of the Tacoma Dome was like organized chaos Friday and Saturday. The 18th edition of the Mat Classic wrestling state championships drew 896 wrestlers from across the state. The grapplers competed on 24 mats scattered across the Tacoma Dome floor in front of 20,000-plus fans.

But the pressure of the Mat Classic didn’t seem to bother Decatur senior Marcus Loera-Sanchez. The 119-pounder overcame all the nerves that go along with participating in his first state championship meet to finish a very surprising fourth in the 119-pound division Saturday.

Loera-Sanchez’s finish at the Mat Classic comes just a week after he ended up in fourth place at the Regional Tournament at Inglemoor High School and two weeks after finishing third at the South Puget Sound League South Division Tournament. Loera-Sanchez also beat two wrestlers at the state championships that finished ahead of him at regionals.

Loera-Sanchez rolled through the consolation bracket after he was pinned by eventual state-champion Anthony Hayes of Battleground in opening-round action. The Decatur senior went on to win four matches in a row to finish in fourth. Loera-Sanchez’s run started with an 8-2 decision win over Moses Lake’s Matt Palmer. He followed with an 8-4 victory over Eastlake’s Brian Schoonover, who beat Leora-Sanchez in the opening round of the regional tournament.

Loera-Sanchez went on to beat Southridge’s Jake Muse, 11-6, and Inglemoor’s Kevin Gunter, 6-3, before getting pinned by University’s Mike Malsam in the third-fourth match. The win over Gunter was another big one for Sanchez. The Inglemoor senior won his first two matches before losing to Hayes in the semifinals. Gunter also won the regional championship.

Things didn’t work out as well for the four Todd Beamer High School wrestlers at the Mat Classic. Senior 160-pounder Peyton Lane was the only one of the four to place inside the Tacoma Dome.

Lane ended up eighth after losing a tough 9-7 decision in the opening round to Capital’s Robert Harvey. Lane went on to pin Arlington’s Matt Irwin in 5:35 and dominate Nick Gutzwiller, 17-2, in the consolation bracket before losing two-straight matches to Central Valley’s Camren Ebat and Mountlake Terrace’s Casey Finnicum to fall to eighth.

Beamer sophomore Vince Harteau was the lone Federal Way school district wrestler to win his first-round match Friday morning. Harteau pinned Heritage’s Steven Loos in 5:40 before losing two-straight matches to University’s Mike Malsam in the quarterfinals and Muse in the consolation bracket.

Beamer’s two other participants lost their first two matches at the double-elimination tournament. Tommy Fraychineaud lost 12-1 in his opener to Moses Lake’s Roberto Cruz and was ousted from the Mat Classic by South Kitsap’s Kurtis Fenton, 8-0, at 103 pounds.

Cole Bixenman’s second appearance at the Mat Classic also ended on Friday. The 152-pounder was beaten 8-5 by Wenatchee’s Dayvin Knemeyer and pinned in 3:22 by Foss’ Kyle Brown in the consolation bracket.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565,

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