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MAT CLASSIC: Decatur's Diggs, Beamer's Carpio and TJ's Pleasants win state titles
When the lights were the brightest, so to speak, Decatur junior Isaiah Diggs, Beamer junior Arian Carpio and Thomas Jefferson freshman Jasmine Pleasants shined.
The Federal Way school district trio, in front of thousands of fans inside the Tacoma Dome, wrestled to state championships at Mat Classic XXVI Saturday.
“It just feels great,” said Diggs after winning the 138-pound 3A championship. “I love being here and winning.”
Saturday’s 124-pound state title was the second in Carpio’s illustrious high-school career and her third-straight appearance in the championship. Her 112-pound crown a season ago avenged the only loss in her three-year stint in the 2012 106-pound championship match.
Carpio dominated her weight class during the two-day tournament Friday and Saturday, pinning all four of her opponents, including a second-round pin of Emerald Ridge’s Sharaya Quinn in the championship.
Unlike Carpio, TJ’s Pleasants will have the chance to become the rare four-time state champion. The Raider freshman cruised into the 112-pound championship match with three dominating wins before grinding out a 2-1 victory over Puyallup freshman Brooklyn Bartleson Saturday night.
Pleasants pinned her first two opponents Friday to earn a berth into the semifinals, where she beat Granite Falls’ Danielle Crawford, 10-2.
Diggs, who was the SPSL 3A All-Purpose Player of the Year on the Decatur football team in the fall, also won a hard-fought 7-6 decision over Mountain View’s Kenji Yamashita in the 138-pound championship Saturday.
The 5-foot-5 Diggs took an early 4-2 lead late in the second round, thanks to a pair of takedowns on Yamashita.
He extended the lead to 6-2 with an early takedown in the third round. But Yamashita wasn’t going away.
The senior tightened the match to 6-5 midway through the third before Diggs added one escape point to go up 7-5. Yamashita’s one-point escape late in the round wasn’t enough.
Following the final horn, Diggs busted out a dance he called the “Nay Nay” and pointed into the crowed, acknowledging the Decatur faithful and his family.
“It’s one of the best feelings of my life,” Diggs said. “I knew I had to compete with him and push. My first thought was my dad, and that I made him proud. Also, that I did it and I accomplished this goal.”
The win over Yamashita, who came into the Mat Classic as the top-ranked wrestler at 138 pounds, capped a 37-3 season for Diggs.
“I just wanted to come out and wrestle hard and have a strong pace,” Diggs said.
Decatur fell short of the school’s first title for the second year in a row. North Central of Spokane, on the strength of four state finalists, won the team race 108.5 to 100. Sunnyside was third with 97 points, University fourth with 94 and Bonney Lake fifth with 93.5.
The Gators fell just four points shy in 2013 to University, 142.5-138.5.
"I think we wrestled really well," said longtime Decatur head coach Mike Bressler. "We had some tough calls. Being in second is pretty good for an inner-city, Federal Way school. It's pretty amazing."
Decatur's Trysten Dawson also finished up in second place Saturday night. The senior lost to Sunnyside's Jesse Barajas in the 120-pound championship match, 9-8. Dawson jumped out to an early 4-1 lead over Barajas, who won was the returning champ at 120 pounds. But the Sunnyside senior tied the match at 4-4 late in the first round.
In the second round, Dawson tallied a one-point escape and a two-point takedown to lead 7-4 entering the third and final round. But Barajas scored an reversal, a takedown and two back points to take the lead for good in the third round.
Diggs and Dawson were two of the school-record 11 Gators to qualify for the state wrestling championships. In total, Decatur finished with a grand total of seven top-seven placers at the Mat Classic.
Both Leviticus Arizpe and Zach Berry advanced into the semifinals in their respective weight classes with a pair of wins Friday. Arizpe, a sophomore, ended up with a fifth-place finish at 126 pounds and Berry, also a sophomore, finished sixth at 132.
Decatur also got podium finishes from seniors Keoni Aparis (138) and Brandon Zimmerman (160), as well as junior A.J. Sarno. Both Aparis and Zimmerman ended up in sixth place and Sarno snagged a seventh-place medal.
Other Decatur wrestlers in Tacoma included Moses Griffen (113 pounds), Dennis Good (145), Christian Aragon (152) and Max Henry (195).
"I feel like we did great," Diggs said. "We had a great weekend. Some of us lost and some of us won. I'm just happy for everybody."
In other action:
• Beamer junior Jordan Rhodes came away from the Mat Classic with a fifth-place medal at 120 pounds. Rhodes finished 5-2 during the tournament. Rhodes pinned Graham-Kapowsin's Kaleb Ogburn in his opener before losing to Lake Stevens' Alex Rodrigo in the quarterfinals Friday. Rhodes then won three consolation matches in a row before losing to Rogers' Beau Shatto in overtime. He then beat a Tahoma wrestler in the fifth/sixth match Saturday, 5-1.
• Jefferson junior Heng Yon took home an eighth-place medal Saturday at 170 pounds. Yon won his opening-round match over Ferris' Baryden Schmick, 6-4, before losing to eventual champion Alex Berfanger from Union in the quarterfinals, 10-2.
Yon lost to Bellarmine's Hunter Taylor in the seventh/eighth match, 5-1, in overtime.
• Federal Way junior Andrzej Hughes-Murray finished eighth at 220 pounds. Hughes-Murray beat Snohomish's Alex Fairhurst in the opening round before losing to Heritage's Tristan Bridges in the quarterfinals, 10-4. He lost in a rematch to Fairhurst in the seventh/eighth match by pin.
• Beamer senior Brian Dykman finished 1-2 Friday at 126 pounds. He beat Evergreen's Jordan Moore, 11-1, in the consolation bracket.
• Beamer sophomore Sean Van Earwage finished 0-2 at 138 pounds Friday.
• Beamer sophomore Adrian Avena beat Mead's Sam Davis for his only win during the Mat Classic in the 145-pound bracket.
• After winning his opening-round match with a 2:46 pin of Davis' Christian Reyes, Beamer junior K.J. Skannal lost two-straight matches at 190 pounds Friday.
• Federal Way sophomore Fernanda Carmona ended up in eighth place in the girls' 170-pound bracket in Tacoma. After losing her opening-round match, Carmona battled back to win two consolation matches on Friday, including a 2:35 pin of East Valley's Elizabeth Goldwater.
Carmona then lost her next two matches, including a pin by Hoquiam's Taylor Walker in the seventh-eighth match.
• Federal Way 106-pounder Ana Sanchez finished 0-2 in the girls' bracket.
• Federal Way senior Evelyn Lafferty ended up 1-2 at 118 pounds. Lafferty beat Warden's Tania Dominguez, 10-8, in overtime.
• After winning her opening-round match Friday, Beamer's 190-pound Hailie Parker lost her next two matches. Parker pinned Zillah's Kelly Benson in 2:57.
• Beamer 113-pounder Brett Dykman finished up 1-2 at the Mat Classic. Dykman's lone win came over Battle Ground's Chris Joner Friday, 10-2.