White River's Skinner takes top honors at state wrestling tournament

WRHS's Chris Skinner sticks his Centralia opponent during 2A state wrestling action Thursday.
— image credit: Photo by Brenda Sexton

White River High junior Chris Skinner worked his tail off to earn the Hornets' top spot at Friday and Saturday's 2A state boys wrestling tournament. After two days of surprises, Skinner finished sixth.

"The boys had a rough tournament," coach Joe Klein said of his young crew,"but they gained valuable experience that hopefully raises their work eithic to the next level."

The Hornets took six wrestlers into the tournament, but quickly saw the tide turn after the first couple of rounds of competition.

Brandon Short, Travis Morris, Brennon Gulin, Trevor Kurtz and Carl Klein saw their medal chances dashed.

Skinner, who along with Short was a regional champion, kicked off the tournament with an 11-7 decision and a 7-4 victory and was on his way to the 182-pound finals when he ran into Kyzer Bailey of Centralia. Skinner had Bailey on his back for most of the first round, but Bailey rallied to win the contest 13-9.

"Chris is a great kid," Klein said. "To fight through what he did and be a state placer, he did a great job.

Skinner took an injury default in his final match of the day due to a sternum injury. Short also suffered an injury during his second match.

Deer Park won the competition with 154 points. Centralia was second with 134 and Fife finished third with 78.5. White River finished 30th.

Klein said he was disappointed in the outcome, but not the season.

Following a stand-out regular season, White River won the regional tournament.

Klein said with one of the state's premiere teams, Sedro Woolley, dropping down from 3A and two-time state champion Orting moving up from 1A, the experience the Hornets' gained at state will make for great wrestling next season.

A Hornet highlight from off the mat was junior Carl Klein's individual state academic title at the 126-pound weight class for his perfect 4.0 grade-point average.


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