TACOMA -- Logan Pine knows the ins and outs with Union High fab freshman Tommy Strassenberg, Class Class 4A’s second-ranked wrestler at 138 pounds.
The two are friends; they roomed together at USA Wrestling’s National Cadet duals last summer. And, last month on Pine’s home turf at Olympia High School, Strassenberg handed the sophomore a 2-1 defeat in quadruple overtime during the Gut Check Challenge tournament.
But as Olympia wrestling coach Greg Hargrave noted after the pair faced off during Friday’s 4A 138-pound quarterfinals at Mat Classic XXVI, “that’s a great time to get him back,” Hargrave said of Pine.
A 5-0 win over Strassenberg elevated Pine into Saturday’s 4A 138-pouund semifinal; he is the second Olympia wrestler in the past two years to make the semifinals, joining Josh Newbill (182) in 2013.
Pine said his tactics – and stamina – changed since the last time he faced Strassenberg and use it to his advantage in the pair’s second go-around.
“I needed to set up my stalling,” Pine said. “He kept working at the edge of the mat.”
It worked. A quick 2-0 lead on a takedown in Round 1 was all Pine needed.
“Right there,” he said, “I knew I had a shot at beating him.”
Pine, a third seed from regionals, wasn’t the only South Sound wrestler who was lower seed to make the semifinals. It happened to Timberline’s Niko Laiuppa, who faces a familiar opponent – Decatur’s Trysten Dawson – in Saturday’s 3A semifinal. Dawson topped Laiuppa in last weekend’s regional tournament, leaving Laiuppa to win two straight consolation matches to place fourth.
In his quarterfinal match against Mount Spokane’s Alec Hoover, his 4-3 lead quickly turned to 12-3 victory, a momentum shift he gained quickly.
“It can turn in any way really fast,” Laiuppa said, “and I’m just glad it went in my favor.”
And then there’s the River Ridge duo of Daniel Montesa (132) and Elijah Camacho (160), who become the first semifinalist the school has produced in the same season.
While Camacho makes the semis for the second straight year – after placing third a year ago – this is Montesa’s first trip. He showed strong emotion after his 10-9 win over Granite Falls' Tyler Groff, and gave a thumbs-up to the River Ridge fans nearby in the stands.
“My hard work is working,” Montesa said. “It’s the only goal of mine – it’s to win.”
AROUND THE MATS
* Yelm’s Darren Harris pinned both his opponents to improve to 33-0 with 33 pins on the season, but needed medical attention following pin a 3:32 quarterfinal pin over Rogers’ Beau Shatto.
“He wasn’t feeling that good today,” Tornados coach Gaylord Strand said of Harris. “He’ll get through it.”
Teammate Holden Miller (182) joins Harris as a semifinals; Yelm sits tied for fourth in the 4A team race with Union at 51 points.
* North Thurston’s Jake Grantham had one of the swiftest days of any wrestler Friday. His pins were in 1 minute 12 seconds and 37 seconds – the third-fastest pin of Day 1 – to advance to his first semifinal in Class 3A. The day’s fastest pin belonged to Hudson’s Bay’s Gunnar Metzer in his 152-pound Class 3A quarterfinal (19 seconds).
* Rochester’s Lucas Eastman (152) and Tenino’s Dom Nakano (195) are semifinal bound in Class 1A. Nakano becomes the Beavers’ first semifinalist since Justin Hernandez reached the 1120-pound semifinal in 2008.
* In the girls championship, Tumwater’s Megan Johnson (155) reached the semifinals with pins in 1:33 and 3:55, as did Yelm’s Shanelle Berry in 235 pounds. Centralia boosts four semifinalists – Hailey Huerta (124), Emily Huerta (190) and Ryan Gibbons (190). Gibbons seeks her third Mat Classic title. The Tigers sit in second place with 42 points in the girls team race.