High school boys wrestling primer: Top wrestlers, teams to watch in 2018-19

Gabe Hawthorne of White River is in charge of Alexei Rubio of Toppenish in the boys AA 132-pound weight class championship round of the Thirtieth Mat Classic state wrestling tournament held in the Tacoma Dome, February 17, 2018.
Gabe Hawthorne of White River is in charge of Alexei Rubio of Toppenish in the boys AA 132-pound weight class championship round of the Thirtieth Mat Classic state wrestling tournament held in the Tacoma Dome, February 17, 2018.


Who will dominate the high school wrestling scene in the South Sound during the 2018-19 season? The News Tribune breaks down the top teams and athletes you might see in the Tacoma Dome in February.

Note: Team and individual rankings are from Washington Wrestling Report.

Curtis’ Maka Yacapin works out during practice at Curtis High School in University Place, Wash., on Friday, Dec. 28, 2018. Joshua Bessex


White River is the favorite to repeat as the 2A team champion at Mat Classic, returns two individual champions in junior Gabe Hawthorne and senior Nate Moore, and has six wrestlers currently ranked third or higher in their respective weight classes. Toppenish and 2A SPSL rival Orting, last year’s runner-up, should be the Hornets’ biggest threats. ... Could this be the year Curtis breaks through for its first team title? The Vikings were runners-up in 4A in 2017 and 1977, but have never reached the top of the podium. This year, they bring back reigning champion Aizayah “Maka” Yacapin, former two-time 1A champion Adrian St. Germain, who transferred from Vashon Island last year, two more returning state players in Devin Neal and Luke Purcella, and some contenders who missed last season’s sixth-place run with injuries. The 4A SPSL favorites are the top-ranked South Sound team in 4A, trailing Mead and Chiawana. Don’t count out defending 4A champion South Kitsap either, which returns reigning champion Xavier Eaglin, or 4A NPSL favorite Tahoma, which has placed in the top three the past three seasons — including a 2017 title — and returns champion Steele Starren. ... In 3A, Yelm is vying for its first title since 2010 behind returning champion Derrick Platt, and three more wrestlers ranked in the top three. Seemingly, only defending champion Mount Spokane stands in the way. Bethel and Bonney Lake could also be in the mix.


4A NPSL — Tahoma. 4A SPSL — Curtis. 3A PCL — Bonney Lake. 3A SSC — Yelm. 2A SPSL — White River. 1A Nisqually — Vashon Island.

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Xavier Eaglin of South Kitsap gets of hug after winning the boys AAAA 106-pound weight class at the Thirtieth Mat Classic state wrestling championships in the Tacoma Dome, February 17, 2018. Peter Haley


Brenden Chaowanapibool, Bonney Lake, sr.: Two-time state champion on an always-dangerous Panthers team is the top-ranked wrestler in 3A at 120 pounds.

Xavier Eaglin, South Kitsap, soph.: Defending 4A champion at 106 pounds has jumped to 126, and has Yacapin and University’s Drew Roberts, who won a title in Oregon last year, to contend with.

Nate Moore, White River, sr.: Has never placed below the top three at Mat Classic, and is a two-time defending state champion, winning at 145 and 152 pounds. Wrestling at 160 this season.

Derrick Platt, Yelm, sr.: Up to 195 pounds after winning the 3A title at 182 last year. Also played linebacker on the Tornados’ state quarterfinals team, collecting 142 tackles and 15 sacks.

Aizayah “Maka” Yacapin, Curtis, jr.: Stanford commit is the top-ranked wrestler in all classes at 126 pounds, and won it all at 113 as a sophomore.

Derrick Platt of Yelm goes for a hug with his coaches after winning the boys 3A 182-pound weight class championship round of Mat Classic XXX, held in the Tacoma Dome, Feb. 17, 2018. Peter Haley


4A — Xavier Eaglin, South Kitsap, soph. (106 pounds); Aizayah “Maka” Yacapin, Curtis, jr. (113); Steele Starren, Tahoma, soph. (126).

3A — Yusief Lillie, Bonney Lake, soph. (106); Brenden Chaowanapibool, Bonney Lake, sr. (113); Josh Walker, Bethel, sr. (160); Derrick Platt, Yelm, sr. (182).

2A — Gabe Hawthorne, White River, jr. (132); Nate Moore, White River, sr. (152).

1A — None.

2B/1B — None.

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Yusief Lille of Bonney Lake on his way to beating Donnie Krissak of Bethel in the boys AAA 106-pound weight class championship round of the Thirtieth Mat Classic state wrestling tournament held in the Tacoma Dome, February 17, 2018. Peter Haley


4A — Noah Cortez, Graham-Kapowsin, sr. (sixth, 106 pounds); William Sirbu, Kentridge, sr. (eighth, 106); Yusef Nelson, Auburn Riverside, sr. (second, 113); Austin Michalski, Tahoma, sr. (third, 120); Cody Bolstad, Puyallup, soph. (fifth, 120); Jabril Muhammad, Auburn Mountainview, jr. (seventh, 126); C.J. Richmond, Sumner, sr. (second, 132); Austin Cleland, Sumner, sr. (sixth, 132); Marcus Peterson, Sumner, sr. (second, 138); Russell Hanson, Auburn Mountainview, sr. (fourth, 138); Devin Neal, Curtis, sr. (third, 145); Jace Coulter, Puyallup, sr. (fourth, 145); Isaac Clark, Puyallup, jr. (fifth, 170); Dominic Kremer, Kentwood, soph. (eighth, 170); Luke Purcella, Curtis, sr. (second, 220); Ethan Fragoso, South Kitsap, sr. (third, 220); Chris Sparks, Graham-Kapowsin, sr. (seventh, 220); William Russell, Auburn Riverside, sr. (eighth, 220).

3A — Donnie Krissak, Bethel, jr. (second, 106); Gage Nelson, Yelm, soph. (seventh, 106); Saevion Lee, Bethel, soph. (eighth, 106); Boira Mokmouen, Lincoln, sr. (third, 113); Coty Chabot, Bethel, sr. (fifth, 113); Ryan Brown, Bethel, jr. (seventh, 120); Ryan Davis, Yelm, sr. (fifth, 126); Jeremiah Duncombe, Lincoln, sr. (sixth, 126); Nolan Casey, Peninsula, jr. (fourth, 145); Cody Coffey, Bonney Lake, sr. (third, 152); Zayne Ball, Gig Harbor, sr. (seventh, 160); Chayton Miller, Yelm, sr. (eighth, 160); Isaac Casey, Peninsula, sr. (fourth, 170); Falemalama Weggen, Spanaway Lake, sr. (fifth, 195); Janoah Thomas, Lincoln, sr. (fourth, 220).

2A — Conor Goucher, Orting, soph. (second, 113); Nate Belcourt, White River, soph. (fourth, 113); Osman Castaneda, Highline, sr. (sixth, 126); Bryson Anderson, Orting, jr. (third, 132); Hunter Behnke, Orting, jr. (sixth, 132); Zach Rowe, Steilacoom, sr. (seventh, 132); Jared Rodarte, White River, jr. (third, 138); Josh Camacho, Washington, sr. (sixth, 138); Mason Burbidge, Tumwater, sr. (seventh, 138); Weston Lyver, White River, jr. (second, 145); Jayden Lancaster, Rochester, jr. (sixth, 145); Phoenix Farrar, Orting, sr. (third, 152); Klein Carter, White River, soph. (sixth, 152); Max Wheeler, White River, sr. (second, 160); Julian Kennedy, Black Hills, jr. (sixth, 160); Johnathan McBride, White River, sr. (seventh, 160); Dylan Lalone, Orting, sr. (eighth, 160); Jack Ervien, White River, sr. (third, 170); Caden Hicks, Tumwater, sr. (seventh, 220); Lupeti Sarte, Fife, sr. (eighth, 285).

1A — Toretto Magalei, Cascade Christian, jr. (fifth, 182); Jacob Garcia, Elma, sr. (eighth, 220).

2B/1B — Marcus Hamel, Life Christian, jr. (sixth, 120); Brody Klein, Rainier, jr. (fifth, 145); Seth Donaldson, Life Christian, sr. (sixth, 285).

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Lauren Smith covers the Seattle Mariners for The News Tribune. She previously covered high school sports at TNT and The Olympian, beginning in 2015. She is a graduate of the University of Washington and Emerald Ridge High School.