The score from Thursday night’s Enumclaw-White River wrestling match would clearly indicate that the top-ranked EHS Hornets dominated their cross-river rivals 59-13 on their way to claiming another undefeated season and South Puget Sound League 3A title.
But for those who packed into the gymnasium in Buckley, they were treated to some intense wrestling.
“We looked coming in that a loss would have made us co-champions and White River always wrestles us tough,” EHS coach Lee Reichert said of his Hornets. “We knew they’d come at us. We needed to make sure we were clean and sharp. We needed to come out with a win, and come out with the league title.”
White River coach Joe Klein, whose Hornets beat Clover Park 65-16 Friday night to secure the league’s No. 3 spot behind Auburn Mountainview, said he didn’t feel too bad losing to the state’s No. 1 3A team.
“I hate to lose to anybody,” he said. “But the kids showed up to wrestle and I’m proud of that. They weren’t intimidated. They didn’t back down to Enumclaw.”
Klein said the Plateau wrestling fans that packed the gymnasium can’t be beat and they were treated to a show.
“Just to feel the electricity in that gym, to feel the emotion of that crowd – that’s good wrestling,” Klein said. “They got to see multi-state champions and several wrestlers who are going on to compete at college. It’s not often you get to see guys at that level.”
White River forfeited the opener at 119 pounds so the evening started in earnest at 125 pounds with one of Enumclaw’s potential two-time state champions Sam Bauer, who built a big lead over sophomore Roger Rowland before pinning him.
The 130-pound contest between EHS’s Wayne Horton and White River’s Jeremy Gurule was evenly matched until Horton took Gurule to the mat in the second round.
Alec Williams picked up White River’s first win, a 9-8 closing-seconds decision over Kyle Young to make the score 18-3 Enumclaw.
Defending state champion Jason Gray put away White River’s Tony Tyler in 1 minute, 29 seconds.
EHS teammate Jacob Jokela took 1:57 to put away Josh Miller at 145 pounds and Kario Wallin took White River’s Nick Grimm for a fall in 2:37 at 152.
The battle of the night came at 160 pounds as Enumclaw’s Conner Elder and Michael Madden locked horns. Elder took a 2-0 lead after the first period and stretched it to 7-4 in the second before claiming a 12-7 victory.
Joey VanWinkle, Enumclaw, and Gino Russell, White River, fanned the flames of excitement a bit more at 171 pounds as the two went tit-for-tat for all three rounds. Russell used a steady attack and pulled off the 6-2 victory.
EHS’s Tyler Rewoldt picked up an 11-2 major decision over Joey Anderson at 189.
White River’s 215-pounder Chase Myers earned the Hornets’ finals points of the night, pinning Brad McCutchen at the match’s 2:55 mark.
Enumclaw’s Mike Staples earned the pin at heavyweight and teammate Travis Reano earned a major decision over Richard Geddes at 103 pounds to finish up the night’s wrestling. White River forfeited the final match of the night at 112 pounds.
Seeding for the subdistrict tournament takes place tonight, Wednesday, with wrestling beginning at 5 p.m. Friday and continuing Saturday at Auburn Mountainview. The top four wrestlers in each weight division advances to the regional tournament Feb. 14 in Bonney Lake.
“We’re excited,” Reichert said of the start of postseason and the Hornets’ march toward a second-straight state title. “We’re leading ourselves to go where we want to go.”
Klein said his young team, which finished 6-2 in league, keeps improving and hopefully will be able to land some of those top spots into the regional tournament.
“It’ll be a battle,” he said. “I don’t have any predictions for that.”