Jackrabbits earn three Classic XXVII medals
Coach Greg Martinez could not be more proud of his five state wrestlers after they earned three medals at Mat Classic XXVII this past weekend.
By no means was it a perfect weekend, but it was emotional.
Martinez watched three of his seniors grab medals to close out their careers. Andy Vargas led the charge with a fourth-place finish in the 152-pound weight bracket, while Cade Wallace placed sixth at 182 pounds and Steven Gomez grabbed eighth at 170 pounds.
Fellow senior Victor Salgado also wrestled his final high school matches, but he was unable to reach the second day of the Classic. The Jacks also brought sophomore Rey Rubio who experienced the Dome for the first time.
“Out of the five I was hoping to get three medals,” Martinez said. “There was a lot of emotion and a lot of excitement.”
His grapplers won nine of 20 matches wrestled. It was a tough weekend with tough competition.
“At state most everyone you wrestle is good,” Martinez said.
But this is a class of seniors who excelled and will be hard to replace next season.
“I love them,” said Martinez.
Andy Vargas (29-9) • 4th
Vargas capped his senior year with a fourth-place medal and 29 wins.
He opened up with a pair of pins to reach the semifinals. The first to fall was junior Kevyn Ward of Sequim. Vargas pinned him with one second remaining in the second round. He advanced to pin sophomore Bryce House of Franklin Pierce at the three-minute, five-second mark.
“The second (guy) felt a little easier,” said Vargas. “I felt good today. This is my senior year, so I was excited.”
On Saturday, he opened with eventual state champion Brent Evans of Toppenish. Evans caught Vargas in a cradle and recorded the second-period pin. The loss dropped him into the consolation semifinals where he defeated Dustin Nading of R.A. Long by a score of 5-1. He scored the first points off a takedown in the first round.
“You learn to wrestle the best you can,” Vargas said. “Once I got that takedown, I knew I had him and could out-work him.”
In his finals match, he lost to Clover Park’s Davon Johnson 4-2.
Vargas p. Ward (Sequim), 3:59; Vargas p. House (FP), 3:05; Evens (Top) p. Vargas, 3:40; Vargas d. Nading (Long), 5-1; Johnson (CP) d. Vargas, 4-2.
Cade Wallace (20-11) • 6th
Wallace opened his sixth place run with a 14-10 decision over sophomore Michael Kramer of Black Hills. In the quarterfinals, he lost to Jacob Nelson of Washington 9-6.
The loss dropped him into the consolation bracket, where he strung together two wins. The first victory was against junior Cole Bonagofski of Bremerton. The 12-3 decision guaranteed him a spot into Saturday’s medal rounds. He followed that with a second-period pin against junior Devon Waterman of Cheney. He lost his next match 5-3 to Romney Noel of Liberty by a score of 5-3. He lost his final match against Tumwater senior Sam Richards 8-7.
“I did a heck of a lot better than I thought,” Wallace said.
He said his goal was to place in the Top-8 and do the best that he could.
“I just went for it,” he said. “I’m at peace.”
Wallace d. Kramer (Black Hills), 14-10; Nelson (Wash) d. Wallace, 9-6; Wallace d. Bonagofski (Brem) 12-3; Wallace p. Waterman (Chen), 2:40; Noel (Liberty) 5-2; Richards (Tum) d. Wallace, 8-7.
Steven Gomez (21-15) • 8th
After losing to eventual champion Conner Small of Liberty by a score of 10-2 in his Classic opener, Gomez had to win back-to-back matches to stay alive. He started with a 5-0 decision against junior Joseph Finch of Centralia and followed that with a 6-0 win over Toppenish senior Luis Rojas. Despite Rojas being a familiar foe, the consequences were win or go home. With that in mind assistant coach Mike Wallace sat him down before the match.
“I was scared at first, honestly,” said Gomez. “Wallace talked to me before the match and said don’t think about anything.”
The advice worked and Gomez qualified for the second day.
“I owe that win to Wallace,” he said.
The second day was a little rough, as Gomez was pinned by senior Zach Slater of Tumwater in the third round and his final match was a 1-0 loss to senior Hayden Stevens of East Valley.
Small (Lib) md. Gomez, 10-2; Gomez d. Finch (Cent), 5-0; Gomez d. Rojas (Top), 6-0; Slater (Tum) p. Gomez, 4:38; Stevens (EVSP) d. Gomez, 1-0.
Victor Salgado (22-12)
Salgado kicked off the tournament with a second-period pin against junior Martin Espino of Franklin Pierce, but he lost his quarterfinal match to sophomore Trevor Newburn of Ridgefield by a score of 5-3. In the consolation rounds, he lost to Port Angeles sophomore Ben Basden 8-3 and was eliminated.
Salgado p. Espino (FP), 3:42; Newburn (Ridg) d. Salgado, 5-3; Basden (PortA) d. Salgado, 8-3.
Rey Rubio (24-11)
Rubio lost both of his matches by the slimmest of margins. The first was a 2-1 overtime loss to junior Briley Funk of Sehome and his second match was a 3-1 loss to sophomore Isaac Anderson of Woodland.
Funk (Seh) d. Rubio, 2-1 (OT); Anderson (Wood) d. Rubio, 3-1.
-Kurtis J. Woodemail@example.com