TACOMA - It's no longer just a dream.
Finally, Yelm, a state runner-up the last two years to Enumclaw, defeated its nemesis Saturday and captured its first state wrestling championship.
Yelm fans erupted when Enumclaw’s Josh Musick lost at 152 pounds, sealing the Tornados’ 3A title.
“I’m so proud of these guys,” said Gaylord Strand, in his 36th year as Yelm’s coach. “I can’t put it into words. This was totally a team effort. I couldn’t be happier with the way everyone wrestled.”
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Nine of Yelm’s 11 state qualifiers placed, with junior Dylan Hyder winning at 119 pounds for his first state title.
Yelm, which trailed Enumclaw by seven and half points after the first day, won with 148.5 points. This time, Enumclaw was the runner-up, six and a half points back.
“They came into Saturday with new attitudes,” Strand said. “My kids fought so hard through consolations. They didn’t quit. That’s the sign of a champion.”
Yelm advanced three to the finals. Yelm’s Dillon Harris (103) and James Bradley (130) both finished second.
Hyder, after a scoreless first round in his final, got a takedown 20 seconds into the second period and went on to beat North Central’s Jared Berlinger, 3-0.
Hyder, after placing second at 103 pounds as a freshman and third at 112 last year, became Strand’s 10th state champion in 36 years.
“This feels amazing,” Hyder said. “It’s the best feeling ever. You win for yourself and you win for the team.”
Hyder cruised to the finals, winning two of his first three matches by pins. He won 17-7 in the semifinals.
In 2A, River Ridge’s Marques Ford (152) won a state championship. The muscular senior completed a 36-0 season with a 12-10 victory in the finals for his second state title. He finished his high school career 100-4.
“My goal every year is to win a state title,” Ford said. “It takes hard work. My brother really helped.”
Ford’s brother, Greg, was his coach and they’d wrestle in practice.
“He pushed me,” Marques Ford said. “He was the best wrestler I went up against.”
Yelm’s Marcus Crone, a surprise loser in the quarterfinals after winning a state title last year, and Patrick Benson both finished third, piling up points with a combined eight wins in the consolation bracket.
Yelm’s Josh Inouya-Clayton (119) placed fourth, Yelm’s Jeren Hufford (112) took fifth, Caleb Thornhill (135) placed sixth, and heavyweight Josh Stephens finished seventh.
Crone, after losing in the closing seconds in the quarterfinals, won four straight matches in consolation at 125 pounds. He put an exclamation point to his season with a 10-0 win in the consolation final.
Benson also won four straight in the consolation bracket to place third at 140, winning his last two matches by injury default.
“They had one bad round,” Strand said. “They buckled down and showed some character. They have could have folded.”
Enumclaw had nine medalists, with three reaching the finals and one winning a state title.
After reaching the semifinals, Thornhill lost his last three matches by injury default with a knee injury, costing Yelm potential points.
Tumwater qualified seven for 2A state and six placed, leading to 71 points and a fifth-place finish. Deer Park won the title with a 144 total.
The Thunderbirds’ Easton Hargrave finished second at 171, and Daniel Page (third) and Cameron Nolan (seventh) both placed at 112 pounds. Riley Prentice (160) was fourth, and Colton Weiks (125) and Chandler Rodriguez (135) both placed seventh. Tumwater, with no seniors among its state qualifiers, finished fifth.
Page lost in the quarterfinals 13-11, then won his next four matches in the loser’s bracket to place third. He defeated Nolan, 6-2, along the way.
“I thought a couple guys would have finished higher, but we did well,” Tumwater coach Tony Prentice said. “They should all be proud.”
In 4A, Olympia’s Jordan Pine lost in the 171 quarterfinals and fought through the consolation bracket to finish sixth, losing by a pin the consolation finals.
In the girls tournament, Olympia’s Cassie Martin (160) took fourth, Yelm’s Kaycee Hurd (135) placed sixth, and Yelm’s Allicia Llewellyn and Monica McMonigle both placed at 285.
Llewellyn defeated McMonigle, 10-8, in the consolation finals for seventh and eighth places.
Martin lost by a pin the semifinals and finished 3-2 in the tournament, losing by a pin in the consolation finals.
Gail Wood: 360-754-5443