3 wrestlers from plateau earn state medals

February 20, 2013

By Lillian O'Rorke

The plateau was well represented at the 25th annual Mat Classic Feb. 15-16 where 10 area wrestlers battled the state’s top athletes for a chance to medal in high school’s biggest tournament.

After taking second at the Region 3 Tournament the weekend before, Skyline filled eight of the 14 weight classes at the state championship.

Sean Mcalhaney (top), Skyline High School senior, wrestles Brandon Champaco of Spanaway Lake at 220 pounds during the state 4A wrestling championships Feb. 15 at the Tacoma Dome.  Photo by Greg Farrar

Sean Mcalhaney (top), Skyline High School senior, wrestles Brandon Champaco of Spanaway Lake at 220 pounds during the state 4A wrestling championships Feb. 15 at the Tacoma Dome. Photo by Greg Farrar

By the time the two-day tournament was just about over, the excitement of having eight wrestlers make it the final 16 had taken its toll on Gus Kiss’s vocal cords. By 2 p.m. Saturday, the Skyline coach’s voice was all but gone.

“We’re really proud of the fact that we brought eight kids and one alternate,” he said in an almost whisper. “It’s a culmination of hard work and dedication, and it’s nice to see the end result.”

Just like he did in his run up to state, Skyline’s 220 pound wrestler Sean Mcalhaney came from behind and swept the competition.

Having lost his first bout to Brandon Champaco of Spanaway Lake – who eventually finished four places behind Mcalhaney – the Skyline senior pushed on and won his next five matches. He sealed the deal in the final battle for third place by pinning Lake Stevens’ Shaq Reed in 4:31.

“I’m stoked. When I first started wrestling this year, I was off to a terrible start. So, everything now is just like a blessing,” he said with a wide grin on his face. “I went 0-3 my first three matches, I was unseeded in KingCo, and I won KingCo and won Regionals. And now to place third at state is like a dream come true.”

After taking second at regionals the week before, senior Joey Gurke was off to a good start. He swept both his matches Feb. 15, the first with a 10-2 major decision and second by pinning Richland’s Pryce Seely in four minutes and 52 seconds.

But those would be his only two wins. Gurke lost the semi final match the next morning 12-3 to Joshua Smith of Kent Meridian. Unable to recover, he lost his next two matches to finish in sixth place.

Skyline’s other state wrestlers included Nate Swanson at 106, Justin Manipis at 113, Joseph DeMatteo at 126, Tristan Steciw at 132, Bo Longmore at 145, and Michael Mecham at 160. All six finished in the top four at regionals but did not medal at state.

 

Eastlake wrestling

Eastlake sent two wrestlers to state. Both of them seniors, Eric Harper went as a 195-pound competitor in the 4A contest and Sabrina Handlon wrestled in the girls 100-pound class.

Harper entered the Mat Classic as the 195 region 3 champ.

Out of the gate Feb. 15, he pinned Anthony Thees of Lake Stevens in the first minute-and-a-half, however his 6-3 loss later that evening knocked him out of the running for first place.

Harper won his next two matches, pinning Tristan Baus of Snohomish and beating Olympia’s Tanner Hartsoch 5-4, but then suffered a 6-1 defeat by Joseph Meyer of Puyallup.

With one last chance to end state and his high school wrestling career with a win, Harper faced Eastmont’s Kyle Hoffman in the battle for fifth place. With the first period’s only takedown, the Eastlake senior started out with a two-point lead, which he rode all the way to end, finally winning 6-3 for a fifth place finish.

“After a loss you can dwell on it, but I came back and I got fired up and stuck with it and ended up winning,” said Harper. “There are not that many kids who get to win their last match so that’s pretty awesome…I’ve been doing it since I was in second grade, so it’s kind of sad for it to come to an end, but it’s been a fun ride.”

Handlon also entered the state tournament as regional champ but was handed a 7-2 loss by Central Kitsap’s Alison Johnson.

She landed one final win in her next match by pinning Akayaisia Sumandig of Mt. Tahoma in the first 40 seconds, but lost the chance to medal when she was beaten 8-6 in overtime in her third, and final match.

“It’s kind of like life, it never goes as you plan it,” said the Eastlake coach, Dexter Beckstead. “Everyone wants to make it to the finals tonight, and there are a lot of guys that didn’t even make it. … It’s a different level of intensity. The only difference is – the moves are all the same – it’s how hard they do them. Rather than kind of floating through it you have to explode through it and that’s the difference. These are pretty good athletes.”

 

Reach Reporter Lillian O’Rorke at ltucker@sammamishreview.com or 392-6434, ext. 232.

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Comments

5 Responses to “3 wrestlers from plateau earn state medals”

  1. Ann Iwicki on February 22nd, 2013 5:05 pm

    You missed one award. Matthew Iwicki( Eastside Catholic) finished 1 st in 3A, 120 lbs. Does this accomplishment rate a story?

  2. RON IWICKI on February 22nd, 2013 5:19 pm

    GOODNESS, I THOUGHT THERE WAS ANOTHER SCHOOL ON THE PLATEAU- SEEMS YOUR PAPER MISSED THE FACT THAT MATT IWICKI FROM EASTSIDE CATHOLIC NOT ONLY PLACED, BUT FINISHED AS THE 120 POUND CHAMPION. NOT ONLY DID HE WIN ALL OF HIS MATCHES BUT DID NOT HAVE A POINT SCORED AGAINST HIM! IF YOU CHECK THE RECORDS, YOU WILL PROBABLY FIND THAT MATT (WRESTLING ALONE FOR EC) SCORED MORE TEAM POINTS THAN EASTLAKE AND SKYLINE COMBINED!
    SEMPER FI
    RMI

  3. Catherine Iwicki on February 23rd, 2013 7:38 am

    Hi Lilian,

    Great wrestling article about the Mat Classic.

    Your title says 3 Wrestlers from the Plateau earn state medals, but you missed one. We live on the Plateau and our son goes to Eastside Catholic.

    My son (a sophomore at EC) Matt Iwicki won at states in the 120lb weight class. He went 4-0 in his matches and did not have any points scored on him in the tournament.

    We have some great photos if you want one.

    Thanks,

    Catherine 425-890-2331

  4. Lawrence Roybal, Jr on February 25th, 2013 12:05 pm

    It’s rather apparent to me and may other Eastside Catholic parents that the Sammamish Review is biased towards Crusader sports! Eastside Catholic wrestler Matt Iwicki won the 120lb 3A Championship, this young man is a great role model! He and other Eastside Catholic Athletes deserve recognition by your paper!

  5. Lee Krick on April 27th, 2014 1:27 pm

    Im Anthony Thees grandfather. My wife Marcia and I raised him since a infant. There are lots of stories behind the names of these boys to men athletes. Wrestling was the best thing that happened to Anthony (6’3″ 195 lbs. State Wrestler and 3 time Varsity football letterman). He was a good kid from the get go. He did have his anger issues that we turned into going out for sports for him. He thrived in wrestling as he was able “to do his own thing” Made a better person and totally focused on being health, fit, etc. he still works out daily. So, if youve got a child out there or know of one needing a release from sadness, and finding focus, self-worth, composure, etc. help get this person into Sports. Especially wrestling for the overall betterment of the Individual involved. Thank You Coach Barnes ,LSHS Wrestling coach..

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