If one was looking for ramifications of the recent snow storm, they needn’t look any further than the Tacoma Dome on February 15-16. Due to Regionals being cancelled the week before, the Mat Classic morphed into a 32 man brackets for this year.
As a result, Woodinville sent five wrestlers to state, the most since 2014.
“We had a great time, the kids wrestled hard,” Woodinville coach Todd Christensen said. “The seniors got to experience the state tourney. And a couple of the younger guys were excited because they realized they belong there.”
The seniors who participated were Drew Christensen, Nolan Downs and Kristopher Edwish. Christensen fared best, finishing in third place in the 160 weight division in the 4A classification. He secured that spot by beating Richland’s Patrick Workman.
“Drew had an unlucky deal [in the quarterfinal] where he had a defensive fall, which means he was in control and got pinned,” Coach Christensen said. “But other than that, he had an incredible day. He wrestled well. He really wanted to wrestle [two-time state champion] Danny Snediker, but it didn’t come to be because of the loss... But Drew had a great end to his [prep] career.”
No other Falcons placed. But junior Jonathan Ruana got a win in the second round over Nathaniel Cortez of Graham-Kapowsin. Woodinville’s Simon Swan also knocked off Mead’s Colby Grosse in the first round.
“Simon got a win at state, got a pin,” Christensen said. “It was really exciting for him. [He was our] first freshman to go to state, first freshman to win at state, and first freshman to get a pin at state.”
Christensen said he got a kick out of watching his younger kids walk among the state’s elite.
“The kids come in and they’re not sure it’s something they can do,” he said. “I don’t know why that is, but it is. We talk all year long about getting to the Tacoma Dome. They came away realizing they belong there. Simon and Jonathan both realized they have real expectations to come back. They both want to place next year. It’s fun to see those younger guys switch on and realize that they can compete with these guys head-to-head and beat them.”
A GLIMPSE TOWARD NEXT SEASON
With Ruana and Swan coming back next year, Christensen sees them as the foundation to build upon.
“Jon has been wrestling for a long time,” Christensen said. “He is a great kid. He’ll be one of our core senior leaders next year. I would expect him to place at state. Simon, on the other hand. is new to the sport. We don’t have any idea what the top of his potential is... He’s excited about wrestling and committed to getting better. He will only be a sophomore next year, so we will have him for three more years. So we’re excited about his possibilities.”
Christensen also cited Mikai Teltzer, who has been recovering from injury.
“This will be Mikai’s fourth year coming up,” he said. “He has been working hard and has a chance to get to state next year. And we have a good crop of young guys who are getting used to what the sport is about.
“We’re trying to keep growing our sport,” Christensen added. “We’re going to be recruiting hard. We know the athletes are out there, we just need to find them.”