Having his grandfather Dick Wooding, a Washington State Hall of Fame coach and former Spartan mentor in the 1980s, place a second-place medal around his neck Saturday night at Mat Classic, the state Class 3A wrestling tournament, was an honor for Tyler Wooding – but being runner-up is still a hard pill to swallow when the goal was a state title.
Wooding, a Sumner High senior who finished sixth at the state tournament last year, found himself in the same position he’s been in the past two weeks, facing defending state champion and undefeated Sam Bauer of Enumclaw, this time for the state 125-pound crown.
In a battle that went down to the wire, Bauer came out on the winning end of a 3-2 decision.
“He’s hard to score on,” Wooding said. “He’s very quick. He’s a real tough kid.”
“He gets tougher every time and it shows in every score,” Bauer said. “They kept getting closer and closer.”
During the two weeks before, Bauer won 10-7 and 5-2 decisions over his Sumner opponent.
“He’s a tough wrestler,” Bauer said of Wooding. “He’s been there on the podium.”
Wooding, who plans to wrestle with the Highline Community College program his grandfather founded in 1966 and coached until 1979, was the Spartans’ top finisher. Senior Keifer Comstock finished third at 215 pounds.
“We brought two and they scored high,” coach Jeremy Horsley said.
Horsley said the South Puget Sound League 3A was well represented and the league is one of the toughest in the state, but “It’s a higher level when you get here.”
The Spartans finished 17th, one spot ahead of White River. Enumclaw won its second straight title. SPSL 3A rival Bonney Lake came out sixth with Auburn Mountainview ninth and Franklin Pierce 10th.
Wooding cruised through his bracket and into the finals, topping Ian Smith of Eastside Catholic with a 4-minute, 41-second fall, Dylan Krenz of Ferndale, 5-2, and Jess Borcherding of Olympic, 5-3.
Comstock lost his opening round to eventual champion Alec Bird of Everett, but won five straight to finish third. He started with a 1-0 decision over Brandon King of Camas and followed it with a 4-0 decision over T.J. Blackburn of Mercer Island, a 2:16 pin of Kristian Agemoto of Auburn Mountainview, a 5-1 decision over Quanah Briggs of Union and a 7-4 victory over White River’s Chase Meyers for third.
With the losses of Wooding, Comstock and others, Horsley is looking toward a rebuilding season.
“We’ll have to reload,” he said. “We’ll have to build back up and put some kids back on the podium.”