MAT CLASSIC XXIV UNTOUCHABLES
JEREMY GOLDING (145)
Mead (4A), Senior, 35-1
Bio: There are natural-born wrestlers, and then there are athletes who learn to become elite wrestlers. With his exceptional work rate, Golding is the latter. And this weekend likely will be a special one as he and teammate Jordan Rogers try and become the first Mead wrestlers to win three state titles. “He has the ability to gear up for high-level competition, and he does not like to lose,” Panthers coach Phil McLean said. His record the past three seasons is 101-5.
JOSH NEWBERG (113)
Kelso (3A), Junior, 35-2
Bio: Some win on sheer talent. Others win because they prepare to the utmost degree. Newberg does both. The Hilanders’ standout became the school’s first two-time Tri-State champion last December, then spent most of the past two months competing at a higher weight class – 120 (where both losses occurred). His coach calls the two-time Cadet All-American a gym rat who indulges in the sport year-round. “He always puts himself in position to win big matches,” Kelso coach Bob Freund said.
JOEY PALMER (132)
Tahoma (4A), Senior, 27-3
Bio: There, you see him. Now, you don’t. Perhaps no wrestler in the state moves around the mat, and has the quickness and balance that Palmer has. The Oregon State-bound teenager is simply tough to slow down. “He is the most dynamic wrestler from the neutral position I’ve coached,” Tahoma coach Chris Feist said. One of his three defeats is to fellow ‘Untouchable’ Jeremy Golding at 145. Last season, he won the Class 4A 125 title for Rogers High School in Puyallup.
JORDAN ROGERS (182)
Mead (4A), Senior, 35-0
Bio: For those who pigeon-holed Rogers as just a technician, fast forward to this season. Nobody has been able to stay on the mat with the Oklahoma State signee, who is ranked No. 1 in the nation at 182. All of his wins have been by pin – with only one match getting out of the first round. “When you combine great technique with passion and power – you get Jordan Rogers,” Mead coach Phil McLean said. The six-time national champion will represent Team USA in the Dapper Dan Classic. Career record is 142-8.
DREW TEMPLEMAN (126)
Orting (1A), Senior, 34-0
Bio: It says something about a teenager who thirsts for the grind of wrestling. What that has netted him is the opportunity to become ninth Washington wrestler to win four state titles. The Wyoming-bound combatant would also become the first four-timer from Pierce County. “He is not scared of anybody. He will practice with anybody a couple (weight) classes up, and he is out looking for the best competition,” Orting coach Mike Sowards said. Career mark is 140-4.
JAKE VELARDE (138)
North Kitsap (2A), Junior, 34-1
Bio: Never before has North Kitsap had a three-time state champion. Velarde can become one Saturday night – but has bigger aspirations in 2013 in joining the elite four-timer fraternity. The five-time Washington State freestyle champion has been on a mat since he was 6 years old, and really exhibits that savvy when he wrestles. “Jake is the hardest working young man that I have seen, and does what is necessary to reach his goals,” Vikings coach Joe Amick said.
Todd Milles, staff writer