Nothing gets decided on Friday of a Mat Classic – the state wrestling championships in the Tacoma Dome.
But the team races have a tendency to shape strongly before the final two championship rounds Saturday – with the semifinals starting at 10 a.m., and the finals scheduled for 5 p.m.
Since the inception of Mat Classic in 1989, no school has won more championships than Lake Stevens. Brent Barnes’ group is looking to add to its haul of eight titles by taking a commanding lead in the 4A race.
The Vikings (84 points) have nine guaranteed state placers, including seven in the semifinals in their runaway effort over defending 4A champion Tahoma (64) and Graham-Kapowsin (541/2) of the South Puget Sound League.
“I can’t be unhappy,” Barnes said. “It’s easy to get greedy.”
When defending 3A champion Enumclaw lost nine of its first 12 matches Friday, it opened the door wide for University. And even though the Spokane-based Titans (69) hold a slim lead over Decatur (661/2) and Sunnyside (621/2), they are in the best position to tally gobs of points today – especially with four semifinalists, led by the Orndoff brothers.
The swing match of the 3A tournament came between two of the heavy hitters of the top teams. And University’s Tanner Orndoff scored on a late reversal in the second period, then rode Decatur’s Rowland Gaydosh ragged in the final round to post a 4-2 quarterfinal victory at 195.
There is more at stake in the 2A tournament than who emerges from the hot team race. With a small lead over four-time reigning 1A champion Orting, and five-time defending 2A champion Deer Park, Othello is in best shape with five semifinalists.
Granger (67) leads 1A, Liberty Bell (1001/2) leads 1B/2B, and Warden (621/2) leads the girls’ tournament.
Surely if all goes expected this morning, many eyes will be on the 2A championship mat tonight to see if North Kitsap’s Jake Velarde can become the 11th wrestler in state history to win four Mat Classic titles.
After a sluggish opener, Velarde warmed up in the afternoon Friday for a 16-1 pounding over Sumner’s Jeremy Jackson in the quarterfinals at 138.
“I am out here to have a blast, and enjoy every match and have a good time,” Velarde said.
Including Velarde, all seven of The News Tribune’s “Untouchables” are through to the semifinals. Included in that is two-time champions Josh Newberg, of Kelso (3A 126); Bobby Reece III, of Kingston (2A 160); and Chandler Rogers, of Mead (4A 170).