Hornets score six titles for WRHS tournament crown
White River High wrestling coach Joe Klein thinks Saturday’s White River Classic offered a preview to some of the matchups that may play out at the state tournament in February.
“It was the strongest it’s ever been,” Klein said of the lineup.
Enumclaw High coach Lee Reichert, whose defending 3A state champion Hornets walked away with the title by edging Orting, the top Class 1A school in the state, and Yelm, it’s 3A nemesis, agreed.
“I truly believe this was the toughest White River Classic we’ve been to,” he said. “The wrestling was premium. It was exactly what we needed. It was a great test for our club. We were apprehensive going into it.”
The Hornets bullied their way past Orting and Yelm with six champions. Defending state champions Sam Bauer and Jason Gray earned their titles at 125 pounds and 140 pounds, respectively. Bauer, who was voted one of the tournament’s two Outstanding Wrestlers, picked up two pins on the way to a 10-4 decision in the final bout. A senior, it was his third White River Classic title.
Gray earned one of his two pins for the tournament in the title round, taking his Yelm opponent to the mat in 1 minute, 7 seconds.
At 145 pounds, Hornet teammates Jacob Jokela and Josh Musick went head-to-head with Jokela picking up the title with a 13-5 decision.
EHS’s Conner Elder beat No. 1 seed Cary Irwin of Everett for the 160-pound crown. He pinned Irwin in 5:34.
Heavyweight Brad McCutchen was the Hornets’ final title winner. He topped Fabian Guiterrez of Spanaway Lake 7-6 for the crown. It was the first time EHS has had a heavyweight in the finals in a number of years.
Team newcomer Hunter File pinned his Orting opponent for the 119-pound title, but his points didn’t count toward EHS’ team score. File, who is awaiting an eligibility appeal, is competing as a junior varsity wrestler. EHS’s Steven Knapp finished third at 189 pounds, but his points also do not count because he was the Hornets’ JV entry.
The Hornets did get team points and third-place finishes from Travis Reano, 103 pounds; Kyle Young, 130; Kario Wallin, 152; and Mike Staples, 215. Marcus Nichols finished fifth at 112 pounds.
The Hornets also won their jamboree Dec. 3 with Kentlake, Olympic and Auburn Riverside. EHS is scheduled to travel to Lakes tonight, Wednesday, for a 7 p.m. contest and then head to the Sedro Wolley Invitational Saturday.
Host White River finished fifth and, considering the level of competition, Klein was thrilled at how his young team came through. Perennial Class 3A eastern Washington power Sunnyside took fourth.
“The kids really stepped it up a notch,” Klein said.
The Hornets didn’t score a championship, but Jeremy Gurule was a runner-up to Patrick Bensen of Yelm at 130 pounds.
The Hornets got third-place finishes from Conner Leckman at 135 pounds, Michael P. Madden at 171 and Chase Myers at 215. Alec Williams, 135, and Michael J. Madden, 160, earned fifth. Richard Geddes was seventh at 103.
Sumner finished eighth, boosted by 171-pound champion Colby Grant, who beat Malcom Dike of Liberty 3-1. Teammate Keifer Comstock also was in the finals. The 215-pounder suffered a fall to Alec Bird of Everett. It was Bird’s third-straight pin of the tournament.
SHS 125-pound Tyler Wooding wrestled JD Gorman of Cedarcrest and Phillip Ramirez, 145, wrestled Connor Manion of Woodinville for fifth.