Here are The News Tribune’s Mat Classic XXIII “Untouchables”
Ruben Navejas (112)
Kentwood (4A), Senior, 38-0
A surprise way for the Mat Classic final to start last season?
Nobody expected Navejas, the defending 4A 103-pound champion, to get pinned in the title match by Tahoma’s Steven Hopkins.
But great wrestlers redeem themselves – and Navejas did this year by beating Hopkins in Hopkins’ weight class – 119.
This 2009 national freestyle champion has answered the bell time and time again this season.
“Ruben is really tough to score on, and can score from any position,” Kentwood coach Ken Sroka said. “And he’s always in great shape.”
The holder of a 158-7 mark for his Kentwood career, he would like to wrestle at Arizona State.
Jordan Rogers (171)
Mead (4A), Junior, 37-0
When special wrestlers come along, it’s not hard to identify them.
Rogers is one of them – and he’s probbably the best right now in the state.
The FILA Cadet Nationals freestyle and Greco-Roman champion in 2010 made a big splash last summer in the 167-pound class by finishing second in the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore.
“It has motivated me to chase an Olympic medal, I guess,” Rogers said.
He’s only 16, and he’s already won 12 national tournaments.
As a ninth grader, Rogers won the 4A title at 145 pounds, but missed Mat Classic last season because of appendicitis.
In three seasons, he has posted a 107-8 record with Mead.
Dylan Hyder (125)
Yelm (3A), Senior, 27-1
Toughness and brawn are big elements of this demanding sport – and at this weight, few are stronger than the 3A 119-pound champion from last season.
And don’t underestimate Hyder’s smarts – he likes figuring out ways to win on the fly.
“Dylan is the kind of guy who never stops learning, and never goes easy in practice,” Yelm coach Gaylord Strand said. “He’s always eager to learn a new way of doing things.”
The Air Force Academy signee was the WSWCA academic state champion last season, and has a 3.99 GPA.
An NHSCAA All-American, Hyder’s career mark is 120-11. His only defeat this season was to Orting’s Drew Templeman.
Chris Castillo (160)
Zillah (1A), Senior, 38-0
This five-time All-American in freestyle and Greco-Roman is set to wrap up one of the most illustrious careers in state history by attempting to become a four-time Mat Classic winner.
If the Boise State-bound star wins at 160 pounds this weekend, he’ll not only become the seventh four-time state champion, but the first to accomplish it solely at 1A.
“There’s probably a little bit of both (sadness and excitement) for us,” Zillah coach Mike Gonzales said. “All of us have coached him since he was 5. We’ve put in a lot of time with him.”
Currently ranked in the top 10 nationally at 160, Castillo has a 154-2 career mark, and hasn’t lost in two-plus seasons.
Drew Templeman (125)
Orting (1A), Junior, 31-2
He might not have a high-flying signature move, or earn high marks for style points. About all this Orting standout does is win matches on the mat.
The two-time 1A champion (112 pounds in 2009; 119 last season) is more of a counter-attacking technician who rarely gets out of position.
His career mark is 103-4. All four defeats have been by one point.
When asked about going not only for a third individual title but a third consecutive 1A team championship, Templeman responded like a teenager possessed.
“We’re not letting up in the wrestling room, that’s for sure,” the two-time NHSCA All-American said.
Sheridan McDonald (135)
Kiona-BentoN (Girls), Senior, 27-7
An “Untouchables” selection with seven losses?
When you consider that McDonald wrestles on the varsity boys team, then, yes. She is vying to become the first four-time girls state champion this weekend.
This run started back in 2008 when McDonald dethroned the defending state champion, Hoquiam’s Alex White. And she hasn’t let up since.
“Sheridan wants to be the one in a match,” Kiona-Benton coach Ben Hll said. “She wants to have the outcome … on her back.”
McDonald is a freestyle All-American, finishing third last year. She wants to wrestle for the U.S. Marines, and holds a 90-33 career mark – against both girls and boys.
Alysia Pohren (145)
Sedro-Woolley (Girls), Senior, 15-1
Born into one of the accomplished wrestling families in Skagit County, she’s already made Mat Classic history.
In 2009, Pohren and her older brother, Cody, became the first brother-sister combination to nab state championships.
Alysia Pohren has carved out one of the best girls careers in state history, winning two state titles (125 pounds in 2009; 145 last year) while flashing an array of moves to gain quick pins.
“She has a ton of experience wrestling on the mat and knows her balance and what her body will do in any given situation,” Sedro-Woolley girls coach Barb Morgan said.
A finger injury has caused her to miss some of this season. She’s 121-3 all-time.