Lake Stevens nails down another title | 4A Boys Wrestling
The Vikings continued their grip on wrestling in the state, celebrating their fourth Class 4A championship in five years and eighth overall.
Seattle Times staff reporter
TACOMA — Steven Walkley took one for the team.
And in the process got one for himself, too.
His victory in the 140-pound final of the Class 4A state wrestling tournament helped seal the team championship for Lake Stevens on Saturday at the Tacoma Dome.
"That's the best part," said Walkley, a junior who pinned Mac Hutchison of Edmonds-Woodway in the final.
It raised the Vikings' total to 129.5 points and all but took Moses Lake out of the equation, even with four finalists still to wrestle. It meant the Chiefs would have to sweep all four and get some bonus points.
That possibility disappeared in the next match as Nico Moreno, who placed second last season, got pinned and the Vikings had their fourth title in the past five years and eighth overall.
"It's pretty special," Lake Stevens coach Brent Barnes said.
It was special, in part, because this was not one of his most physically talented teams, and because the wrestlers endured scrutiny during a seasonlong film project that could become an MTV documentary.
"They handled all the pressure of the cameras," Barnes said.
He said the highlight of the tournament might have been Jesse Peterson's second-place finish at 103 pounds. Just two weeks ago, Peterson had been knocked unconscious at the subregional tournament.
Six other Lake Stevens wrestlers took home medals, contributing key team points — Ryan Rodorigo (third at 119), Eric Solar (fourth at 112), Andrew King (fourth at 152), Kinsey Johnson (fifth at 135), Jack Reeves (sixth at 145) and Cody Schlosser (sixth at 285).
Moses Lake wound up with 119 points and two champions: Brian Chamberlain (215) and Kabe Fluaitt (285).
• Ruben Navejas capped an outstanding career at Kentwood by winning the 112-pound crown to finish the season 42-0 — the Conquerors' first unbeaten wrestler in coach Ken Sroka's 14-year tenure.
It's the fourth state medal for Navejas and second gold. He won at 103 as a sophomore. Navejas lost to Tahoma's Steven Hopkins in the 103 final last year.
"Forty-two match perfection, that's what I wanted to show," said Navejas, who raised his career mark to 162-7.
He celebrated with a baseball swing toward the stands, indicating he had knocked one out of the park — an idea he borrowed from a wrestling buddy in Missouri.
• Hopkins, a junior, lost in the 119-pound semifinals Saturday and wound up fourth. Tahoma teammate Dan Haniger did the same at 135.
• Another returning champion stumbled as Auburn's Dylan Rutledge, first at 171 last year, lost 3-2 to Chamberlain at 215.
• Ryan DeWeese made school history for Edmonds-Woodway with his title at 130. Since Edmonds and Woodway merged into one high school in 1990, there had been no wrestling champions at the school. DeWeese, who placed second as a junior at 130 last year, bolted to an early lead over Clint Powers from Skyview and ultimately won 17-6.
• Jefferson senior Zeke Nistrian, who didn't wrestle last season, completed his comeback by winning at 152. Teammate K.W. Williams took second at 189.
• It was a tough day for Tahoma, which brought in 11 wrestlers — more than any other 4A team — and finished a disappointing ninth. Only four of the 11 placed. But all are underclassmen and should return next season.
• Nick Conlan of Auburn, who came in ranked No. 1 at 285 and last year's runner-up, went down in the semifinals and had to settle for third place.
• Mead's Jeremy Golding became a two-time champion by taking the 135-pound crown after winning at 125 last year.