It started with big muscle and finished with small craftsmanship, with some push from the middleweights.
Put together, from top to bottom, Auburn Riverside remains the best wrestling team on this side of the 4A North Puget Sound League — but not without tough competition from Decatur.
Auburn Riverside generated 327 points, enough to pull a three-peat sub-district championship. Topping the tournament, the Ravens advanced 13 individuals and two alternates to regionals.
Enumclaw followed with 305 points; Decatur pulled up third with 246.5 points, qualifying eight individuals and three alternates for next week’s regionals, the final step to state.
Eleven Decatur wrestlers reached the finals, with five capturing weight-class titles, to power the Gators to a third-place finish at the NPSL Olympic Division/sub-district tournament championship Saturday at Auburn High School’s Bob Jones Gymnasium.
Decatur’s sub-district champions include freshman Collin Jack (106), senior Cristian Torres (138), junior Bradley Tyack (152), freshman Jose Flores (160), and senior Michael Rhea (182).
Junior Sampson Mitchell (220) pulled a second-place finish, sophomore JC Clay (152) placed third, and senior Carlos Lopez (182) secured his spot at this weekend’s regionals with a fourth-place landing.
Regional alternates include sophomore Josh Pearce (160), senior Jesus Chavarria (195) and freshman Zecharia Siva (220).
Todd Beamer finished sixth with 111 points, advancing five wrestlers and one alternate onward: Junior Tiler Jennings (third, 120); sophomore Landon Guaderrama (fourth, 138); sophomore James Dueck (third, 145); senior Mori Guilbeau (second, 285); freshman Alhassane Bangoura (fourth, 285). Holding down state alternate is freshman Landon Peralta (fifth, 106).
Thomas Jefferson placed seventh with 71 points and despite reaping no champions, senior Roman Shuck (195) placed second after a tough battle with Auburn Riverside’s Ethan Pedro.
TJ senior Jared Tran (138) placed third, winning by 7-4 decision over Beamer’s Landon Guaderrama. Freshman Christian Guarnes placed (132) placed fourth and senior Brian Nguyen (113) is a regional alternative for Thomas Jefferson.
Federal Way wrapped up eighth with 56 points; sophomore Ryan Joo (220) took fourth and junior Michael Proctor-Yates (126) took second, both advancing to regionals.
Bringing out the big guns
Senior heavyweight Eyvar Robles (24-8) got it started, mauling Todd Beamer’s Mori Guilbeau with a pin at the 4:40 mark. Will Russell, a 220-pound senior looking to return to state, pinned Decatur’s Sampson Mitchell at 3:51.
Russell (30-8) went toe-to-toe with Decatur’s Mitchell, preferring to wrestle on his feet rather than apply weight to his wrapped, sore shoulder.
At 195 pounds, junior Ethan Pedro took down Thomas Jefferson’s Roman Shuck with 26 seconds left in overtime for a wild 4-2 win. Pedro led 2-1, but Shuck escaped for the tying point as the third period expired.
Decatur’s Bradley Tyack remains undefeated going onward to regionals as Auburn Mountainview’s Brennan Russell fell behind early, scrambled but ran out of time, in dropping a 7-5 decision to Tyack. It was Russell’s first loss in 33 bouts this season.
“Brennan has a lot of respect for Bradley. He knows how tough he is and how good of a far-side cradle he has,” said Lions coach Jay McGuffin. “So it was like, ‘Don’t let the kid (go) on top and don’t let him get a far-side cradle.’ Unfortunately, we didn’t capitalize … he turned us and we ran out of time.”
Russell, a state-class performer, no longer will have to compete with the weight of a perfect record, which might serve him well in the long run, McGuffin said.
“That’s exactly what we emphasized to Russell, the fact that you need to taste it (a loss) before the state tournament gets here,” the coach said. “And he said it doesn’t taste good at all, and he doesn’t want to taste it again. I know it’s going to help him work hard this week.”
The top-four finishers from the league tournament qualified for this Saturday’s regionals. First bouts begin at 10 a.m. at Todd Beamer High School in Federal Way. The top four finishers from regionals advance to Mat Classic XXXI at the Tacoma Dome on Feb. 15-16.