But if quantity was down – tournament director Mike Derda said more than 90 wrestlers did not compete due to illness or injury – there was no shortage of quality wrestling in the day-long, 14-team event in the River Ridge High gym.
“We may be a small school,” said Derda, the River Ridge coach, “but I want to get the best of the best. If you get in the top four here, you’ll make it to the Tacoma Dome.”
If that holds true, Shelton, Black Hills and Yelm — despite bringing its junior varsity team — along with host River Ridge, will be well-represented at the Mat Classic state championships Feb. 15-16 at the Dome.
Shelton, with two individual champions and seven in the top four, compiled 158 points to earn the team title. Forks, with one champ and five placers, totaled 134 for second place.
Black Hills was third (116.5), Yelm fourth (113.5), and River Ridge fifth (110.5).
Derda said 180 wrestlers competed, well short of the 274 athletes he expected, but the level of competition remained high.
Angel Coria of Spanaway Lake, named one of three outstanding wrestlers, claimed the 106-pound title with a pin of Black Hills’ Sebastian Morales.
At 113, Mason Adams, also named an outstanding wrestler, earned Black Hills’ only title by pinning Dallin Carlson of North Thurston.
Gill Ramos of Shelton lost by pin in the 120-pound final to Marc Moschatel of Roosevelt.
Eight-seeded Brian Rochester of Yelm controlled second seed Jacob Sands of Roosevelt at 126 pounds for a 5-0 decision.
At 132 pounds, top seed Jakeob Garrick of Shelton pinned Jacob Rash of Yelm late in the second round.
Daniel Montesa of River Ridge was the aggressor throughout his match at 138 pounds, and outpointed top seeded Ricky Barragan of Forks, 9-5.
The other River Ridge champion was Elijah Camacho at 160 pounds, who edged Spencer Gurrad of Black Hills, 3-2, in the tightest match of the finals. Trailing 2-1, Camacho scored a two-point takedown with 45 seconds left in the match and held on for the win.
Luke Shell of Steilacoom earned a 15-3 major decision over Jimmy Matta of Highline at 145 pounds.
Liberty wrestler Connor Small kept top seed Marcus Ullroth of North Thurston from the victory stand with a 5-1 decision at 152 pounds.
Ben Anderson of Shelton scored a 5-0 decision over Tanner Torr of Kent-Meridian at 285 pounds.
Alex Kalinin of Renton pinned Greg Bowers of Yelm in the 170 final; Thomas Kemp of Kent-Meridian topped River Ridge’s Tannis Wayson at 195.
Zach Bickford was the third outstanding wrestler in the tournament, based on his victory by pin over the top seed at 182 pounds, Jackson Leech of Steilacoom.