Cy Hicks wants to make this clear. He isn’t there — yet.
The Tumwater High School junior is an early pick to contend for a Class 2A heavyweight wrestling title, but this is the point he wants to emphasize.
There’s a lot of work to be done before that can happen.
“That’s my motivation every day,” Hicks said. “There’s somebody bigger and better than me out there, and I need to be the best. If I can get a state championship, that’s validation for me.
“But I haven’t gotten it yet. I’m working towards it.”
Last season’s result — Hicks took third in the 285-pound weight class at Mat Classic XXVIII as a sophomore — is last season’s result.
Sure, Hunter Mullins — the two-time defending 2A heavyweight champion from Orting, Hicks’ cousin, and the only wrestler to beat him at the Tacoma Dome last season — has graduated and is wrestling at Wyoming.
But Hicks said there could be another wrestler out there that has the ability to challenge him.
He’s the top-ranked 2A heavyweight wrestler in the state, but as of now, Hicks said that doesn’t hold much weight either — a state title is the only way to prove that.
“If I work hard enough, I can achieve it,” Hicks said. “I’m working hard, but I’m not there yet. I’m not to postseason level. I need to keep working harder and harder.”
Tony Prentice, Tumwater’s coach, echoes that sentiment.
“He’s not ready yet, but he has the ability,” Prentice said. “When it’s time, we’ll know. He’s as good as anyone in the state in heavyweight.”
Hicks is undefeated this season, including winning his third consecutive championship at Tumwater’s annual Pat Alexander Invitational this past Saturday, where he pinned each of the three opponents he faced.
“I think, ultimately, he knows where he wants to be,” Prentice said.
Hicks has a piece of notebook paper hanging over his bed at home. He listed four goals for the school year, and has already checked off two of them:
Earn a spot as a two-way starter on Tumwater’s football team.
Hicks turned out to be the only two-way tackle the T-Birds had, and was an Olympian All-Area pick on offense, where he blocked for a team that averaged 39 points per game.
Become an all-league football selection.
Hicks did that, too. He was a 2A Evergreen Conference first-team selection on defense, and finished the season with 55 tackles and three sacks.
The next item is a state wrestling title. The fourth is to compete in throwing events at the track and field state championships in May.
Two down, two to go, but he’s taking the goals one at a time.
“When I switch from sport to sport, my mindset is purely on the next sport,” Hicks said. “My whole life right now is wrestling. I wake up, go to school and wrestle.”
Caden Hicks, Cy’s younger brother, is also his sparring partner at practice this season. He said it’s clear how driven Cy is to achieve the next goal on the list.
“His whole life is just, ‘I want to take first in state this year,’ ” Caden Hicks said. “All I’m here to do is help push him along the way.”
The two try to hold each other accountable in practice, Caden Hicks said, and turn everything outside of it — doing dishes at home, working to get the best grades in school — into a competition.
Caden Hicks, a sophomore who competes at 220 pounds, said the good-natured sibling rivalry hits its crux on the wrestling mat.
“We do love each other, we’re a really close family, but we don’t really think of each other as brothers when we’re on the mat,” he said. “We’re trying to make each other better.”
Said Cy Hicks: “I couldn’t be here without my team, and the hard-working coaches and wrestlers. We push each other.”
Caden Hicks said sparring with his older brother has helped him improve physically and mentally, and it does the same for Cy.
“We’ll sit down and watch wrestling matches in the Olympics or the NCAAs and point out different things,” Caden Hicks said. “Then, he’ll tell me, ‘You can do that all you want because I know you can.’
“He always believes in me, and makes me a lot better because he’s always by my side.”
Beyond his brother, Prentice said Cy Hicks has grown into a more vocal leader for the T-Birds this season, which will continue to help him improve.
“He’s the biggest, strongest kid in the room,” Prentice said. “He has been since he was a freshman, but he’s not really vocal. Having him assume that role leads me to believe that, mentally, he’s in the right place.”
2016-17 BOYS WRESTLING PRIMER
TEAM TO WATCH
Last season, W.F. West sent 12 wrestlers to the Tacoma Dome and placed fifth as a team. This season, eight of those wrestlers, and two state alternates, return for what could be a significant run at the program’s first team title in nearly a decade. W.F. West won its first — and only — state title in 2007. Roehre Cunningham (sixth, 106 pounds), Damon Thomas (second, 138), Michael Anderson (third, 152) and Hunter Arredondo (second, 285) are all returning state placers for the Bearcats.
1. Heavyweight showdown: Orting’s Hunter Mullins, the two-time defending 2A champion at 285 pounds, graduated. That leaves two locals, including Tumwater’s Cy Hicks, who is Mullins’ cousin, as favorites to claim the crown. Hicks, a junior, lost to Mullins in a state quarterfinal match last season, but beat his next four opponents to place third. W.F. West’s Hunter Arredondo, a senior, lost to Mullins in the final, and could be Hicks’ biggest competition for this season’s title.
2. Tornados on the move: Yelm is back in 3A after spending the past four seasons wrestling in the 4A classification. The Tornados won a 3A team title in 2010, and were runners-up in 2012, 2009 and 2008. Tyler Losch (seventh, 182) and Jeremy Smith (third, 195) are returning state placers.
3. Table toppers: Four locals are projected to be Washington state’s top wrestlers in their classifications and their respective weight classes on Washington Wrestling Report, and all four reached the podium at Mat Classic last season. River Ridge’s Blayne Haderman (2A, 220 pounds), Tumwater’s Hicks (2A, 285), Yelm’s Smith (3A, 195) and W.F. West’s Thomas (2A, 138) are all early favorites.
WRESTLERS TO WATCH
Michael Anderson, W.F. West, sr.: Looking for fourth consecutive 2A podium spot. Has placed in three different weight classes.
Cy Hicks, Tumwater, jr.: Favorite to contend for 2A heavyweight title. Placed third as a sophomore, fifth as a freshman at 285 pounds.
Layn Pannkuk, Olympia, sr.: Three-time state placer is state’s top-ranked 4A wrestler at 152 pounds, and undefeated this season.
Jeremy Smith, Yelm, sr.: Newbie at state tournament last season took third in 4A at 195 pounds. Currently top-ranked wrestler at that weight in 3A.
Damon Thomas, W.F. West, sr.: Has competed at Mat Classic in three different classifications. Took second in 2A at 138 pounds last season.
BEST OF THE REST
Matthew Anfeldt, Tumwater, sr. (113); Jordan Antill, Tenino, sr. (126); Hunter Arredondo, W.F. West, sr. (285); Andrew Bartoldo, Timberline, jr. (106); Angus Beaton, Capital, sr. (285); Adam Benson, Timberline sr. (170); Kai Burgman, North Thurston, so. (285); Braden Bostwick, W.F. West, sr. (195); Roehre Cunningham, W.F. West, jr. (113); Ryan Davis, Yelm, so. (120); Blayne Haderman, River Ridge, sr. (220); Mason Harrison, Yelm, sr. (126); Matt Hitchiner, Elma, sr. (160); David Hoover, Rainier, jr. (182); Gable Lacy, Shelton, sr. (195); Curtis Lenz, Rainier, sr. (106); Tyler Losch, Yelm, sr. (182); Cameron MacAlevy, Shelton, fr. (106); Mykka McAllister, Centralia, jr. (120); Kyle Olson, Elma, sr. (182); Tyler Pallas, W.F. West, sr. (220); Derrick Platt, Yelm, so. (170); Chase Poston, Olympia, jr. (113); Chaz Poston, Olympia, jr. (106); Steven Reyes, Yelm, so. (132); Parker Risk, Timberline, sr. (132); Justin Sample, Elma, jr. (145); Colter Severson, Tumwater, sr. (152); Ed Skill, Timberline, sr. (138); Nathan Smith, Timberline, sr. (138); Brenden Spahr, W.F. West, sr. (182); Gavin Stewart, Yelm, jr. (113); Noah Winder, North Thurston, jr. (195).