Skyline wrestlers Steciw, Mejia garner state medals
February 26, 2014
Six Skyline High School wrestlers reached the state championships, but only two left the Tacoma Dome with medals hanging from their necks.
Senior Tristan Steciw earned the eighth-place medal at 132 pounds in Class 4A, and freshman Addie Mejia took eighth in the girls’ 118-pound division, leading the Spartans’ contingency at Mat Classic XXVI, held Feb. 21-22.
Steciw earned a state medal for the first time in three tries. Coming off a third-place finish at the previous weekend’s Region II tournament, he started fast at Mat Classic.
In the first round, Steciw battled Tahoma’s Todd Link in a defensive-oriented match. Steciw escaped from a bottom-position restart in the third period, earned a takedown moments later, and held on for a 5-3 victory.
“I went in strong, feeling ready,” he said. “It’s my last year. As a senior, I’m excited, just wrestling tough and enjoying the whole experience.”
In the quarterfinals, though, Steciw couldn’t get anything going against Lake Stevens senior Noah Cuzzetto and dropped a 9-1 major decision.
That forced him into a late-night, loser-out match against Bethel’s Dante Springsteen. Steciw advanced to the medal round with a 5-1 decision.
And although he wasn’t able to close out his career with a win – he lost 8-3 to Yelm’s Brian Rochester and 4-2 to Central Valley’s Elijah Kilborn – he left the state tournament with something to show for his efforts.
“I’ve been wrestling for 12 years and had my older brothers always beating on me,” Steciw said. “It’s helped a lot through the years with being tough and pushing through those hard parts of the matches that you’ve really got to dig deep (for).”
In the girls’ tournament, Mejia opened with a decisive 9-4 win over Sunnyside’s Daisy Chavez. Mejia earned takedowns in all three periods and generally kept Chavez glued to the mat.
But she ran into a buzzsaw in her next match. Puyallup sophomore Jordyn Bartelson pinned Mejia in 1 minute, 6 seconds. Bartelson dominated her opponents, winning the 118-pound title with four straight pins.
In a loser-out match, Mejia came though with a 7-2 decision over Columbia-White Salmon’s Regina Bell. Mejia settled for eighth place after losses to Chiawana’s Marylou Martinez and Mount Baker’s Natalie Smith.
Skyline’s four other state qualifiers didn’t make it past the first day of competition.
At 106 pounds, freshman Zach Froeber was pinned by Edmonds-Woodway’s Sidat Kanyi and Jackson’s Cole Anderson.
At 120, junior Nathan Swanson dropped a 6-4 decision to Cascade-Everett’s David Garcia. Swanson stayed alive by knocking off Auburn’s Drew Aplin, 8-2, but ended his season with an 8-6 overtime defeat to Tahoma’s Justin Sipila.
Senior Joseph DeMatteo (145) was making his fourth Mat Classic appearance, but finished his career without a state medal. He lost 12-1 to Kentwood’s Dalton Meyers and 11-4 to Yelm’s Ryley Hallman.
Bo Longmore, a sophomore, made his second state trip, but again fell short of a medal at 170. He lost 11-1 to Kamiak’s Tyler Webley, advanced by injury default over Kentridge’s Zach Seibel, and lost 13-8 to Yelm’s Bo Campbell.
Eastlake had only one wrestler qualify for Mat Classic. Freshman Martin Miller (106) went 0-2 in his debut as Arlington’s Jeremy Nygard pinned him in 1:53, and Pasco’s Bobby Guzman defeated him 13-3.
Eastside Catholic junior Matt Iwicki, a Sammamish resident, wasn’t able to defend his 3A title. He settled for third place at 132 pounds, and avenged a regional loss to Oak Harbor’s Jeremy Vester, beating Vester 8-1 in his final match.
Iwicki won his opener easily, pinning Lincoln’s Robert Mathews in 1:35, but then drew an experienced state veteran in Kelso senior Tyler Wicken.
Iwicki wrestled defensively early, then fell behind 3-0 as Wicken escaped and took him down in the second period.
Trailing 3-1 in the closing seconds, Iwicki appeared to get the tying takedown, but was instead called for an illegal hold. His coaches were visibly upset with the controversial call, and Wicken ended up winning, 6-1.