This is what Cy Hicks was working for when the season began.
Really, it’s what he’s been reaching for the past two years.
“That was the hardest road I ever took,” Hicks said Saturday at the Tacoma Dome, with gold medal draped around his neck.
“I (had) so many ups and downs. Just looking back at the work that I did, and all of the disappointment I faced, all of the adversity I faced … it’s for this.”
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Hicks, a Tumwater High School junior, was the final wrestler to win a state title — his first, and Tumwater’s first since 2013 — at Mat Classic XXIX.
After all of the other heavyweight championships matches concluded, Hicks and W.F. West senior Hunter Arredondo remained deadlocked in a 1-1 tie, trying to decide the Class 2A title at 285 pounds.
A week earlier, Arredondo stopped Hicks for the first time in his career, 3-1, to secure the regional title at Ridgefield High School.
Both wrestlers were pinned by two-time champion Hunter Mullins — Hicks’ cousin — from Orting a year ago. Hicks in the quarterfinals, Arredondo in the championship match.
With Mullins graduated and wrestling at Wyoming, Arredondo said Friday he thought he’d see Hicks in the final round.
He did, and the two struggled for six minutes before the match went to overtime.
“It was close — about as close as they come,” W.F. West coach Jamie Rakevich said. “Cy’s a great kid, though. I’m glad for him. Sad for Hunter, but he’s a two-time finalist and I’m really proud.”
Seconds before the first overtime expired, Arredondo caught Hicks’ left leg, and pushed forward.
It appeared Hicks was about to fall, but he quickly twisted away, instead throwing Arredondo to the mat for a two-point takedown to win, 3-1.
“I have a lower center of gravity, and I just moved my hips out of the way, and he just fell,” Hicks said. “But, that could have went 50-50. He had the shot, too.”
“Hunter is so big, and he blocks (Cy) out, and takes away everything Cy wants to do,” Tumwater coach Tony Prentice said. “When (Cy’s) foot was in the air, and he had us locked up like that, I thought we were going to probably end up going down.
“But, Cy is a very athletic kid. That paid off.”
That was the final win of four Hicks had during the weekend. He pinned Lindbergh sophomore AJ Sellem in the opening round in one minute, four seconds.
Then, he met the top-ranked wrestler in 2A at 285 pounds, Toppenish senior Jonathan Cuevas, in the quarterfinals. He endured several blood timeouts, and topped Cuevas, 12-4.
Hicks outlasted Foss senior Jackson Potts, 3-1, in the semifinals to meet Arredondo in the championship match.
“For Cy, I think it’s well deserved,” Prentice said. “I know how hard he’s worked, and what he puts in. I mean, he weighs 225 pounds. He’s lost 50 pounds since his freshman year.
“He just never stops going. In practice, he’ll get sick, he throws up, he keeps going. He doesn’t complain — ever.”
Hicks tearfully hugged Prentice, other coaches, teammates, family members and friends following his win.
“It’s literally what we’ve been working for, ever since I was in eighth grade and he was a freshman,” said Cy’s younger brother, Caden Hicks, who finished sixth in 2A at 220 pounds.
“That was his No. 1 goal, and I was just there along the way to help him get it. I’m so proud that I could be here experiencing the same thing with him.”
Several supporters from Tumwater rushed the floor after the match was over to congratulate Hicks, and cheered when he stood at the top of the 2A podium.
“He finally gets one,” Prentice said. “It’s really special. … You can see how many kids want to be around him. He epitomizes our program. He’s the kind of kid you love to coach.”
Hicks said he is grateful to have the support. He said he owes his success to his family, coaches, team and Caden.
“I count how many times I’ve thrown up, I can’t count how many times I’ve bled,” Hicks said. “I owe it to that, I really do.”
Hicks said he finally has the validation he was looking for after winning a state title.
“Last year, I had my goal set, I thought it was going to be easy,” Hicks said. “This year, I was out sick for a week, it was terrible. I took second at regionals. I lost to the Toppenish kid (in January).
“I doubted myself, and this is validation for me.”
With one year remaining in his high school career, Hicks is already carving the path to his next title run.
“Next year, I want to get another one, but I also want to set another goal,” he said. “I want to be (an) Untouchable. … It’s going to be really hard, but, like I said at the beginning of the season — if I work hard enough, I can get it.”
“I don’t think you ever count Cy out of anything,” Prentice said.
TUMWATER STATE WRESTLING CHAMPIONS