CENTRALIA - All was as projected on the final day of the 2A Evergreen Conference sub-regional wrestling tournament Saturday at Centralia High School.
Tumwater sent eight wrestlers to finals and won six individual titles to take home the team crown with 390 points. Centralia finished second with 317 points, followed by Chehalis (289.5), Black Hills (174), Aberdeen (142.5), North Thurston (111) and River Ridge (48).
“The kids feel good about themselves,” Tumwater coach Tony Prentice said. “We’re very excited about it, and we have another weekend.”
The top two in each weight class advance to the 2A regional next weekend at Tumwater High School. The third- and fourth-place finishers will take on third-place wrestlers from the 2A Greater St. Helens League or Seamount League in pigtail matches, with those winners also advancing to the regional.
The Thunderbirds started fast with champions in the 103-, 112- and 119-pound weight classes in Austin Chase (pin in 1:03), Daniel Page (1:49) and James Nolan (8-2 decision). Nolan, ranked sixth in the state, defeated his fifth-ranked younger brother, Cameron, in the semifinals. Cameron Nolan rebounded to finish third.
The 189-pound division, featuring three wrestlers ranked in the top 10 in Class 2A – Tumwater’s Easton Hargrave (No. 1), and Centralia’s Kole Braaten and Dayna Squibb – was as competitive as expected, with the three finishing 1-2-3.
Hargrave (30-1) didn’t get his 101st career pin in the final, but he defeated Braaten, the defending sub-regional and regional champion, 5-0. Hargrave’s one loss this season was to South Kitsap’s Conner Hartmann, the top-ranked 4A wrestler.
Tumwater’s other sub-regional winners were Chandler Rodriguez, a 10-4 winner over Chehalis’ Cristian Orozco at 135 pounds, and Riley Prentice at 160, who had the quickest pin of the day at 30 seconds over Aberdeen’s Carmelo Hernandez.
The Thunderbirds got a boost from junior heavyweight Nate Parsons who advanced to the final against Centralia’s Garrett Pannkuk.
The final was a thriller, going three overtimes before Pannkuk, who defeated Parsons earlier this season, won with an escape with 11 seconds to go. Parsons forced the second OT on an escape as the seconds ticked down.
It was his longest match of the season by far for Parsons (12-9), who recently missed two tournaments with a bruised left knee.
“Triple overtime is a pretty big improvement,” Parsons said. “I felt like I could’ve done a little bit better. It would’ve been nice to win, but I’ll see him at regionals.”
Black Hills’ fourth-place finish came largely thanks its two its two sub-regional champions – Cody Carlson (145) and Garrison Stamp (171). Carlson (22-4) took an 8-5 decision over Centralia’s Cole Riccardo, while Stamp defeated Cooper Johnson, 6-3.
For the second straight year, Centralia finished second.
Four Tigers wrestlers earned sub-regional titles – Chris Lazo (125), Andrew Huerta (152), Justin Gillespie (215) and Pannkuk. The 152 match featured Huerta against teammate Preston Churchill.
During the tournament, the 2A All-Evergreen Conference wrestling team was announced. Hargrave won the Most Outstanding Wrestler award, and Prentice won the coach of the year honor.
Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473