State titles elude local wrestlers
February 25, 2014
By Neil Pierson
Eagle Torre Eaton’s third-place finish is top local medalist
For Issaquah High School senior Torre Eaton, his final trip to the Mat Classic state wrestling championships was an historic one.
Eaton had made two previous trips to the state tournament, but had yet to earn a medal as a top-eight finisher.
He flipped that script last weekend, earning the third-place medal at 113 pounds in Class 4A, and he wound up being the only medalist among Issaquah’s four qualifiers to Mat Classic XXVI, held Feb. 21-22 at the Tacoma Dome.
Among the highlights of Eaton’s tournament was a thrilling, triple-overtime victory over Moses Lake sophomore Jose Garcia in the quarterfinals.
Eaton trailed 2-1 entering the third period, but earned an escape with a minute left to send the match to extra time.
Both wrestlers nearly got the winning takedown in the first overtime, but their strategies changed after that. Eaton escaped in the second OT, and Garcia followed suit to tie the score, 3-3.
In the third OT, though, Garcia couldn’t get loose from the bottom position, and that gave Eaton the win and a berth in the state semifinals.
Eaton hadn’t trailed much this season, but did it quite a bit as a junior, he said after beating Garcia.
“It made me learn how to fight, because I didn’t have a really great record last year,” he said. “I had a good record, but never placed in state. I worked my butt off, and now I’m going to place in state, and it’s amazing.”
In the semifinals, Eaton lost 7-0 to Lake Stevens sophomore Michael Soler, who went on to win the championship.
But Eaton didn’t falter again. In the consolation bracket, he pinned Central Kitsap’s Josh Criollos and won an 8-4 decision against Davis’ Ramiro Ortiz.
Issaquah’s Louden Ivey (138), Hunter Hurley (152) and Colby Starren (160) combined for an 0-6 record and didn’t reach the second day of competition.
Six Skyline wrestlers competed at state, but only two left the Tacoma Dome with medals hanging from their necks.
Senior Tristan Steciw earned the eighth-place medal at 132, and freshman Addie Mejia took eighth in the girls’ 118-pound division.
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.”
Steciw advanced to the medal round with a 5-1 decision over Bethel’s Dante Springsteen, although he lost two decisions to finish his Skyline career.
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.
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 Zach Froeber (106), Nathan Swanson (120), Joseph DeMatteo (145) and Bo Longmore (170) finished with a 2-8 combined record and were eliminated after the first day.
In the 3A competition, Liberty had three athletes reach the medal podium.
Joanna Moreira, a junior, was among the top-ranked 137-pound girls all season, but had to settle for sixth place after three straight losses to end the season.
Moreira reached the semifinals with a bruising 7-4 victory over Othello’s Phelicia Perez, the type of match that symbolized her season.
“Usually, I go three rounds,” she said. “I rarely pin, and even though that’s kind of iffy, it’s kind of helped me because of my conditioning. I can go three rounds. If I’m tied in the second round, I know I can beat this girl by fitness. I’m conditioned way better.”
Liberty juniors Conner Small and Romney Noel also earned medals. Small took third at 160 pounds, and Noel was sixth at 170.
Kyle Armstrong (120) and Quinn Magendanz (182) also reached state for the Patriots, but neither advanced to the medal round.