Blazers wrestler has goals pinned down

Senior Stone Hart’s focus is to become first 2-time state champion at Timberline High School in 36 years

mwochnick@theolympian.comDecember 11, 2012 

It’s the goal for every Timberline wrestler — get your name on the board.

If you’re a Blazers wrestler who has placed at the state tournament, this is where your legacy resides permanently on display, serving as a motivator for members of the current team.

“That’s where everyone wants to be,” senior Stone Hart said. “You see that board every day before practice. It drives you.”

A handful of names have “state champion” listed next to them.

Hart’s name is already up there for placing — twice.

The first time occurred following his sophomore season when an undersized Hart finished sixth in the 215-pound class at the 3A state tournament.

“Right after he finished sixth he told me he was going to be a two-time state champion,” said Timberline coach Jeff Birbeck.

Hart came to his conclusion based on the fact that Brad Benn finished sixth as a sophomore in 1974. Benn went on to claim the 135-pound state title in 1975 — helping the Blazers to the overall state championship that season — before closing out his high school wrestling career by capturing the 141-pound crown in 1976.

Hart’s ambition was to mirror Benn’s accomplishments.

“He told me he was going to be just like Brad Benn,” Birbeck said, “sixth as a sophomore, then back-to-back state champions.”

Definitely lofty goals, especially considering the fact that Hart was a newcomer to the sport, having just taken it up in eighth grade.

“I’ve always tried to shoot high with my goals,” said Hart, who is also a member of the National Honor Society. “Even if you don’t reach them, you’ve still accomplished a lot.”

Hart fulfilled the first step of his mission last season, winning the 220-pound state title in surprising fashion.

He had lost just two matches during his junior campaign, both to Bellevue senior Jimmy Trull, who had earned All-American honors after placing at the Freestyle National Championships in 2010.

Fate saw fit to place Hart and Trull together one last time — this time in the state 3A finals.

“Stone’s a very bright kid,” Birbeck said. “He figured out what (Trull’s) weaknesses were and what he needed to do to beat him.”

Hart became Timberline’s first state champion since Jarred Riffe won the 275-pound classification in 2005 after pinning Trull in 4 minutes, 34 seconds.

“Storybook ending,” Hart said about last season’s final. “Here’s a guy who dominated me all year and I face him in the state finals and win. It was the best feeling in the world. I’ve always kind of embraced that underdog role.”

That’s something Hart will not be able to do now. From his role as David, he has suddenly assumed the role of Goliath.

“It’s different this year,” Hart said. “I didn’t have a target on me before.”

Despite the added attention from rival wrestlers, Hart should actually feel more comfortable in the 220-pound division this season.

He usually stepped out onto the mat at around 205 pounds last season. This season with added strength he will be right at the 220 weight limit.

“I’ve never had to worry about making weight before. I was always undersized,” said Hart, a first-team All-3A Narrows League defensive end in football for the Blazers. “I’d be the guy off to the side eating a sub when everyone else was trying to cut weight. This year I will be right at 220.”

While his focus is on a second state wrestling championship, Hart envisions playing football at the next level. Several schools, including Eastern Washington University, have been in contact with him.

“He’s a leader. He works hard,” Birbeck said. “Stone’s just a great kid.”

He also is in position to become the first two-time state champion at Timberline in 36 years.

WRESTLING OUTLOOK

BOYS

15 WRESTLERS TO WATCH

CLASS 4A: Tanner Hartsoch, sr., Olympia, 195; Connor Wilmovsky, sr., Olympia, 285; Jeffrey Leuth, sr., Yelm, 195; Dillon Harris, sr., Yelm, 145; Darren Harris, so., Yelm, 113; Anthony Allred, sr., Yelm, 170.

CLASS 3A: Stone Hart, sr., Timberline, 220; Josh Beam, sr., Timberline, 138; Jake Grantham, jr., North Thurston, 195.

CLASS 2A: Cameron Nolan, sr., Tumwater, 126; Mason Adams, sr., Black Hills, 113; Will Bardezbain, sr., W.F. West, 113; Kyzer Bailey, so., Centralia, 182; Kellen Pelzel, sr., Centralia, 145.

CLASS 1A: Lucas Eastman, so., Rochester, 145.

GIRLS

5 WRESTLERS TO WATCH

Isabella Silva-Pires, sr., Centralia, 100; Isis Wadleigh, sr., Timberline, 100; Alexandra Selleck, sr., Rochester, 170; Tonie Edwards, jr., Yelm, 170; Ryan Gibbons, so., Centralia, 190.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

HOW WILL YELM STACK UP IN 4A?

The Tornados had their fair share of success as a Class 3A program over the years. Since 2008, Yelm has placed second twice and was the team state champion in 2010. But going up to Class 4A presents another challenge — going up against powerhouse Lake Stevens, which has won four of the past six team titles in Class 4A. Yelm features five wrestlers — Darren Harris (113), Dillon Harris (145), Anthony Allred (170), Jeffrey Leuth (195) and Cody Anderson (285) ranked in the latest Class 4A rankings on WashingtonWrestlingReport.net. Dillon Harris is aiming to become a four-time placer at state; he has earned second place at the 103- and 132-pound weight classes as a freshman and junior.

RUNNERS-UP GOING FOR FIRST

Four South Sound wrestlers who were runners-up in their weight classes are poised to earn state titles, including three from Centralia: Isabella Silva-Pires (100-pound girls), Kellen Pelzel (2A, 145) and Kyzer Bailey (2A, 182); Yelm’s Dillon Harris (3A, 132) is the fourth after the Tornados moved up to Class 4A. Three South Sound wrestlers are back to defend state titles: Timberline’s Stone Hart (3A, 220), Yelm’s Darren Harris (4A, 113) and Centralia’s Ryan Gibbons (girls, 195).

mwochnick@theolympian.com

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