The Eatonville Cruiser wrestling program had a historic weekend at the 2022 WIAA Mat Classic XXXIII this past weekend at the Tacoma Dome.
As a team, the wrestlers scored 100 points, securing them a second-place overall finish, which is the best they have done in school history.
"Toppenish scored a record 402 points. With that total, they would have won the team championship in any of the six classifications,” Eatonville coach Mario Ragazzo said exuberantly. “So in our mind, we are state champs.”
The team hadn't been ranked all season, but right after regionals they were ranked seventh in the state.
"No one expected us to be here and do as well as we did,” Ragazzo said. “Myself, the rest of my coaches and the kids believed, and we got it done"
Eatonville sent nine wrestlers to the state tournament and had six athletes place in the top 10.
Day one of the tournament saw five of the Cruiser wrestlers advance to the semifinals and one wrestler still alive in the consolation rounds. Three Cruiser wrestlers were eliminated. Ethan Carter in the 120-pound class, Ayden Lilly in the 126-pound class and Carsen Pero in the 285-pound class had their days end after dropping their matches in the consolation rounds.
On day two of the tournament, each of the five Cruiser wrestlers was one win away from finding themselves in the championship match.
Unfortunately, only one Cruiser wrestler, Austin Frink at 120 pounds moved to the championship round title match, while the others dropped into the consolation rounds.
In the 113-pound weight class, Kasey Whitney took on Mount Baker's Jorey Johnson in the semifinals. Whitney was trailing until the final minute of the match when he took a 7-6 lead, only to have Johnson fight back in the closing seconds and pull off a 10-7 victory, dropping Whitney into the consolation round. In the consolation semifinals, Whitney pinned La Center's Aidan Watson to advance to the finals. There, Whitney battled Wapato's Noeh Martinez but lost 12-9 to finish in fourth place.
In the 120-pound weight class, Frink took on La Center's Malachi Wallway and defeated him 10-8 to move on to the championship match against Toppenish's Miguel Torrez. In the finals, Torrez defeated Frink 7-1 to claim the title and give Frink a second-place finish.
In the 126-pound consolation rounds, Riley McFadden beat Vashon's George Murphy before suffering a 5-2 decision to Castle Rock's Landon Ramos, giving him a seventh-place finish.
In the 132-pound weight class, Ty Whitney took on Toppenish's Marcos Torrez in the semifinals. Torrez took an early 2-0 lead with a two-point takedown in the first period. He extended that lead to 5-0 in the closing seconds of the second period. In the final period, Torrez extended his lead again and took the win 7-0, dropping Whitney into the consolation rounds. In the consolation semifinals, Whitney defeated Wapato's Julio Brizuela 7-2 to advance to the finals where he pinned Vashon's Colin McIntyre to secure a third-place finish.
In the 160-pound weight class, Kaden Olsen wrestled Mount Baker's Elijah Washburn in the semifinals, and Washburn pinned Olsen, dropping him into the consolation rounds. There, Olsen pinned Toppenish's Luis Mendoza to move to the finals where he wrestled Riverside's Aaron DesRoches and came away with a 2-0 decision to secure third place.
At 182 pounds, Hunter Sonnenberg took on Deer Park's Bryon Newby in the semifinals. Newby took a 4-0 lead late in the first period, which he extended to 6-0 in the waning seconds of the second. In the final period, Newby tacked on one more point to shut out Sonnenberg, 7-0, dropping him to the consolation round. In the consolation semifinals, Sonnenberg wrestled Zillah's Aiden Ford.
Ford struck first and took a 2-0 lead before Sonnenberg tied it up at the end of the first period. In the second period, Sonnenberg took a 5-2 lead shortly before pinning Ford to advance to the consolation finals. There, he wrestled Connell's Adrian Magana and pinned him to secure third place.
"These kids were resilient all tourney and showed what heart and perseverance were to close out a second-place team finish,” Ragazzo said. “These kids have worked hard with excellent junior club coaches, middle school coaches and high school coaches. It takes a village of coaches to put these kids where they are at. This was the most impressive finish at the state tourney I've been a part of, and these are special kids.”
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