That was the first time Hunter Arredondo, a senior at W.F. West High School, beat Cy Hicks.
On Saturday evening at Ridgefield High School, Arredondo met the Tumwater junior for the fourth time in his career.
But, this time, Arredondo’s arm was raised at the end of the match, and he walked away with a Class 2A Region I wrestling title.
And, perhaps more coveted, a top seed in the heavyweight division at Mat Classic XXIX, which begins Friday at the Tacoma Dome.
“It was super important,” Arredondo said. “It’s just something I had coming. I worked for it. It was a matter of time.”
Both Arredondo and Hicks landed on the podium at last year’s state tournament. Arredondo took second. Hicks took third.
Orting’s Hunter Mullins won the title, graduated, and now wrestles at Wyoming, opening up the field.
Saturday’s match was likely a preview of top contenders — and at least one top team — for next weekend’s state tournament.
Arredondo and Hicks sparred indecisively through the first period before Hicks scored on an escape 30 seconds into the second.
Hicks was penalized for an illegal move early in the third period, and stalling as time expired, lifting Arredondo to a 3-1 decision.
“He’s strong, fast, aggressive,” Arredondo said. “I was pretty nervous. … I just had to take things slow and not rush it.
“He has great technique. I just had to wait for my opportunity and use my size to my advantage.”
Arredondo was one of six W.F. West wrestlers to win a regional title.
Roehre Cunningham (106 pounds), Damon Thomas (138), Michael Anderson (152), Brendenn Spahr (182) and Brayden Bostwick (220) also won their championship matches.
“It’s nice to be sitting where we’re sitting, and hopefully put some kids in better places to place (at Mat Class),” W.F. West coach Jamie Rakevich said. “But, really, the whole goal is to get guys through.”
W.F. West returned the majority of its wrestlers this season, and is expected to contend for a 2A team title.
“I think we’re a contending team,” Arredondo said. “It’s ours for the taking. We’ve all worked for it. We’re all really close. We all know what we’re doing.”
The Bearcats took fifth as a team last season, and won their only state title in 2007.
Cunningham, Thomas, Anderson and Arredondo are all returning state placers.
“It’s been an experience with those guys,” Rakevich said. “They’ve all been through it before. It’s been a different year.
“We know next year we’re going to be rebuilding, so we’re kind of enjoying the highs right now, and keep these guys motivated for another week of wrestling.”
Thomas and teammate Jacob Nowels couldn’t help but laugh in their 138-pound final, wrestling against each other.
The two playfully sparred for the majority of the match, while one Bearcats coach jokingly shuffled from one side of the mat to the other — supporting both wrestlers.
“We’re teammates, we wrestle in practice, so it is pretty funny to just be out in the regional finals wrestling each other,” Thomas said.
The Bearcats were all smiles, with all six of their finalists taking regional titles back to Chehalis.
“Except him,” Thomas joked, as Nowels laughed next to him.
Ten wrestlers qualified for the Bearcats for Mat Classic.
Centralia’s Mykka McAllister (120) and Tristan Dickey (160) were the other two locals to take home titles.
Team scores: W.F. West 213.5, Tumwater 131, Washougal 128.5, Aberdeen 84, Mountlake Terrace 79, Centralia 76.5, Ridgefield 67.5, Mark Morris 62, Black Hills 61, Cedarcrest 59, Hockinson 42, Rochester 40, Woodland 37.5, R.A. Long 35, Archbishop Murphy 32, Columbia River 21
106: Roehre Cunningham (WFW) dec. Colton Burke (BH) 12-1
113: Parker McBride (Cedarcrest) inj. def. Jacob Paris (Rochester)
120: Mykka McAllister (Centralia) p. Edgar Salazar (Aberdeen) 5:10
126: Tyler Sophomanichan (Aberdeen) p. Michael Marquez (MT) 2:41
132: Wyatt Gaspar (Ridgefield) dec. Nolan Keese (BH) 15-8
138: Damon Thomas (WFW) dec. Jacob Nowels (WFW) 8-2
145: Tanner Lees (Washougal) dec. Nick Wolfe (Washougal) 12-3
152: Michael Anderson (WFW) dec. Pavel Oliferovskiy (MT) 10-1
160: Tristan Dickey (Centralia) inj. def. Michael Hickey (Washougal)
170: Colton Wheeler (Hockinson) p. Zach Jones (Tumwater) 0:37
182: Brendenn Spahr (WFW) p. Hunter Robbins (MM) 1:36
195: Reyne Mack (MT) d. Garrett Erickson (MM) 16-4
220: Brayden Bostwick (WFW) dec. Caden Hicks (Tumwater) 11-3
285: Hunter Arredondo (WFW) dec. Cy Hicks (Tumwater) 3-1