Last season at this time, Tumwater High School junior Cy Hicks landed in the consolation bracket.
He was pinned in the Class 2A quarterfinals by his cousin, Hunter Mullins, a two-time heavyweight champion.
On Friday night at the Tacoma Dome, Hicks again met the state’s top-ranked heavyweight wrestler — Toppenish senior Jonathan Cuevas — in the 285-pound quarterfinals at Mat Classic XXIX.
But, this time, Hicks had his arm raised at the end of a bloody, six-minute brawl that ended in a 12-4 win.
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“It’s state,” Hicks said. “He’s really good. He’s one of the best. … It’s going to get bloody, it’s going to get tough. I have tons of respect for those guys, because they’ve put in so much work.”
So has Hicks. At the end of the first day, he was one of 19 local wrestlers to advance to the state semifinals.
“I’m still not done,” Hicks said. “I’ve still got a ways to go. I’m halfway there.”
To a state title, he means. Cuevas was only the first obstacle — Hicks lost to Cuevas just over a month ago at the Gut Check Challenge in Bremerton, and was pinned in one minute, 14 seconds.
That’s the only time Hicks has been pinned this season.
“I was so defensive the whole time,” Hicks said about Friday’s rematch. “It was because if he got my head up and my neck, I knew he was going to throw me.
“I kind of anticipated tiring him out and then scoring.”
Hicks trailed, 3-1, early in the third period.
He finally took Cuevas to the ground with little more than a minute left, and picked up six points — takedown, near fall, another blood timeout.
The first was early in the first period when Cuevas got a bloody nose. Then, Hicks got a small cut on his forehead.
“Then, he threw me on his back and my forehead hit his eye and it just split open,” Hicks said. “I could see it … just blood everywhere.”
The match was temporarily suspended as trainers tended to Cuevas, and wrapped his head.
When the match resumed, Hicks took down Cuevas again and earned another near fall just before time expired.
“He’s a really good guy … really great opponent,” Hicks said. “Heck of a nice guy.”
Hicks will meet Foss senior Jackson Potts in the semifinals on Saturday afternoon. With a win, he could meet W.F. West’s Hunter Arredondo — who defeated Hicks, 3-1, at regionals last weekend — in the final.
Arredondo took second last season — he was pinned by Mullins in the final.
“I’m hoping to see Cy in the finals,” said Arredondo, who pinned Sedro Woolley’s Sven Lukner in 1:49 in his quarterfinal.
“That would be nice. I’m ready for it. … From the beginning, I’ve pretty much known that it would be him and me in the finals.”
Arredondo was pleased with Hicks’ quarterfinal win — sending Cuevas to the consolation bracket helps the Bearcats in the running for the 2A team title.
“Cy beating the Toppenish kid, that was huge,” Arredondo said. “That really put Toppenish down. He’s one of their better wrestlers. He made a mistake and Cy caught it.”
Toppenish is the defending state titlist, and was in second place at the end of Friday’s matches with 74 points. Orting (77.5 points) is leading, and W.F. West (57) is in third.
The Bearcats have four wrestlers — Damon Thomas (138 pounds), Michael Anderson (152), Brendenn Spahr (182) and Arredondo — in the semifinals.
“Winning a team title would be cool, but it’s not what we’re all focusing for,” said Thomas, who beat Toppenish’s Alexi Rubio by a 9-8 decision.
“We’re all focusing on the highest placing we can get (individually) on the podium. Then the team score will solve itself.”
The Yelm boys and girls teams are also in contention for a podium spot as a team.
Yelm leads the girls competition (50 points) after the first day in front of state-favorite Federal Way (48) and Othello (40).
Phoenix DuBose (115 pounds), Carly Smith (125) and Ariana Zemke (145) are all in the semifinals.
Yelm’s boys sit in fourth (52 points) behind Kamiakin (77.5), Kelso (77) and Bonney Lake (65).
Steven Reyes (126 pounds), Chayton Miller (160), Derrick Platt (182) and Jeremy Smith (195) all advanced to the semifinals.
“As long as everybody keeps doing what they need to do, we could easily be up there as a team,” Jeremy Smith said.