“We’re going to the top,” Enumclaw High captain Sam Bauer said after the Hornets put a record-setting 14 wrestlers on the roster to help defend the team’s state championship Friday and Saturday at Mat Classic in the Tacoma Dome. “It’s the only thing we think of as a team. It’s the only thing we want.”
The No. 1-ranked Hornets cruised through the regional tournament at Bonney Lake High Saturday with another dominating performance, placing 11 wrestlers in the championship ring and waltzing away with seven champions. Coach Lee Reichert thinks it will take an equally impressive performance for the Horents to repeat as state champions Saturday night.
“It’s not what you start,” Reichert said. “It’s what you finish. This has been our goal from Day 1.”
EHS’s record 14 wrestlers to state tops last season’s dozen. It’s also a personal record for Reichert in his 30 years coaching. Saturday’s team victory was the Hornets’ third-straight regional title. Should they win Saturday it will be their second consecutive state title and Reichert’s fifth. He won three as coach at Kentwood High before coming to Enumclaw.
“We’re sending 14 to state this year,” said the Hornets’ other team captain Jason Gray. “Last year we brought 12 and this year Auburn and Auburn Riverside have moved up. We’re feeling pretty confident and we’re excited.”
Bauer and Gray will lead the Hornets into state with a one-two punch. Both are defending state champions with matching 38-0 records this season and they set the precedent for Enumclaw’s work ethic.
“We’ll be working hard, keeping our cardio up,” Gray said. “We will keep working hard and stay on plan doing what we’re doing.”
“We’ll work a lot on focus,” said Bauer, noting this week is mid-winter break and school is not in session. “It will be another hard week of practice and mental preparation. We’ll have to keep our mind in it over break while everyone’s out having fun.”
To those on the outside, Saturday night’s finals may have looked like a picnic for the Hornets. Enumclaw had sewn up the regional title before the championship round started. Auburn Mountainview and Bonney Lake were a distant second and third, while crossriver rival White River finished fourth.
Reichert said the lower weights set the team’s tempo, and freshman Travis Reano, 28-7 on the season, did exactly that starting the Hornets off with a 6-5 decision over Auburn Mountainview’s Brandon Perry for the 103-pound title.
Enumclaw took the mat again at 112 pounds with Marcus Nichols. The Lions’ Matt Anderson got the best of Nichols, last year’s 103-pound regional champion, falling the Hornet sophomore in 4 minutes, 28 seconds. His record now stands at 25-13.
At 125, Bauer scored a 5-2 decision over Tyler Wooding of Sumner for another regional title.
EHS’s Wayne Horton, last year’s regional champ, followed at 130 pounds. Hornet, who is 26-5 for the season, fell to David Kuich of Franklin Pierce 3-0 to finish second.
Defending state champ Gray quick-pinned teammate Josh Musick, 20-7, at 140 pounds. The two are not only sparring partners, but have spent much of the season going head-to-head in title rounds.
Gray expects to meet Musick in the state finals.
“I’m going to be pulling for him to win,” Gray said. “It shows our team is a lot tougher skill-wise.”
Hornet teammate Jacob Jokela ran into Bonney Lake’s Addison Tracy, again, in the 145-pound final. Jokela kept the score with the 2008 state runner-up close, but eventually fell 4-2.
Sophomore Kario Wallin, 32-6, repeated his regional title with a 9-3 win over Isaac Tadeo of Auburn Mountainview at 152.
At 160 pounds, Conner Elder and White River’s Michael Madden knocked heads again. Elder improved to 36-2 on the season with a 9-1 decision.
Mike Staples padded his win-loss record, 30-7, and earned his first regional title with a 9-8 decison over Sam Mebarki of Bonney Lake at 189 pounds.
At 215 pounds, EHS’s Brad McCutchen slammed home the thought that the Hornets are on the way to another state title, pinning Kristian Agemotu of Auburn Mountainview in 3:47 and earning the Hornets’ seventh crown for the night.
Rounding out Enumclaw’s state team will be Kyle Young, Tyler Rewoldt and Joey VanWinkle. Young, at 135 pounds, finished fourth. He had to pull out with an injury while wrestling Nick Bendon of Bonney Lake for third.
Rewoldt, 30-7, earned his fourth-place finish at 189 pounds after suffering a 9-1 loss to Dwayne McCarver of Franklin Pierce.
VanWinkle finished fourth at 171 pounds after dropping a 6-2 decision to Luke Peterson of Auburn Mountainview.
Brackets for Mat Classic, the state Class 3A wrestling tournament, are posted and updated at www.wiaa.com.
Reach Brenda Sexton at email@example.com or 360-802-8206.