With his hand bandaged up, and a couple marks on his face, Olympia High School’s Layn Pannkuk was frank about how his Saturday felt at the Class 4A Region III wrestling championships at Curtis.
“No fun whatsoever,” he said.
Upset by Puyallup’s Nolan Martinez in his 152-pound opener, Pannkuk had to win three loser-out matches to earn a spot at his fourth consecutive state tournament next week in the Tacoma Dome.
And in the last match against Sumner’s Trace Fischlin, Pannkuk came from behind in the third period to post a 5-3 victory to grab the No. 3 seed to Mat Classic XXIX.
Pannkuk tied it at 3-3 with an escape with 1:38 to go, and got the match-winning takedown seven seconds later.
“It was a pretty tough day,” said Pannkuk, who placed fifth at Mat Classic XXVII last year as a junior. “Really frustrating.”
And he had to overcome a bit of adversity. In Pannkuk’s first consolation match against South Kitsap’s Davonn Keyes, he bruised his hand on the mat.
Pannkuk wrestled his final match with his hand wrapped — and wrapped up a state berth in the process.
As a No. 3 seed, Pannkuk knows he will face a higher seed in his opening match on Friday.
“It definitely could work out in my favor,” Pannkuk said. “If I have a hard match first, that is usually what turns it on.”
Pannkuk was the lone Bears wrestler to earn a trip to state.
3A BOYS REGIONALS
Yelm’s Steven Reyes persevered over Lincoln’s Jeramiah Sandoval in the third round after Sandoval made a fervent comeback with seconds remaining to win the 126-pound title at the 3A Region II wrestling championships at Bonney Lake High.
Holding an 8-3 lead with a minute to go in the final round, Sandoval hit Reyes with a takedown and near fall that put the Abes wrestler within two points, 8-6, with 30 seconds remaining.
Sandoval attempted a second near fall while hovering over Reyes, but Reyes twisted his hips and pulled his opponent over for a reversal and near fall, 11-6, and held on to secure the title.
“I was making sure that I was pushing pace,” Reyes said. “It was all just hard work from practice paying off here.”
Yelm took second as a team with 163 points. Bonney Lake won its second consecutive regional championship with 208 points.
Reyes teammates’ Jeremy Smith (195 pounds) and Skylor Mottner (285) also won regional titles.
2A BOYS REGIONALS
River Ridge’s Blayne Haderman continues to prove why he’s been the top-ranked 2A wrestler at 220 pounds all season long.
Haderman beat Orting’s Evan Barger, 8-2, in the finals to claim the 2A Region III title at Fife High.
Haderman led, 2-1, after the first round before catching Barger’s heel in the second and forcing him to the mat. Haderman earned a near fall to enter the final period up, 7-1, and decisively closed the match.
Haderman improves to 28-1 this season entering Mat Classic. He took fourth at the state tournament last season as a junior.
Two Yelm wrestlers won individual titles at the Region II girls wrestling championships at Decatur High.
Phoenix Dubose, a sophomore, beat teammate Brooklyn Cutler, a freshman, for the 115-pound title by 5-0 decision.
Carly Smith, a freshman, won the 125-pound title with a 3-2 decision over Bremerton’s Haley Michaelson.
Six Tornados wrestlers qualified for Mat Classic, while one more wrestler is a state alternate.
Yelm took second as a team wih 151 points behind state-favorite Federal Way (173.5).
Staff writers Kevin Manning and Lauren Smith contributed to this report.