State wrestling: Wins for Nguyen brothers

Union places eight wrestlers, finishes fourth as a team

By Paul Danzer, Columbian Soccer, hockey and Community Sports Reporter



TACOMA — This time, the brothers Nguyen double feature at Mat Classic was win, win.

The Evergreen seniors capped their high school wrestling career in ultimate fashion on Saturday — by winning a pair of state championships at the Tacoma Dome.

Michael Nguyen won the Class 4A 113-pound title with a 15-6 win over Tim Whitehead of Tahoma. Less than 10 minutes later, Matthew won his title with a 7-3 win over Taylor Salzberg from Graham-Kapowsin at 120 pounds.

“It felt great,” Matthew Nguyen said. “Everything I worked for paid off.”

Matthew Nguyen had plenty of motivation. He was a state runner up at 112 pounds as a junior in 2011.

For Michael Nguyen, this was a repeat experience. He was the 106-pound state champion in 2011.

“It’s every bit as satisfying,” Michael Nguyen said. “That motivation sticks with you even after the first one.”

For Matthew, the final hurdle to his state championship was a familiar foe. One year ago, he defeated Salzberg by one point in the semifinals.

This time, he made sure the score wasn’t quite that close.

“I just wanted to keep my intensity high and keep coming at him,” Matthew Nguyen said. “The key was better position.”

The result was as good as it gets.

Waiting through Michael’s match was difficult, Matthew said. But his brother didn’t waste any time taking command of his 113-pound title match.

Michael Nguyen led 4-1 after the first two-minute period. He led 11-4 after two periods and opened the final period with a quick reversal for a nine-point lead.

Michael Nguyen was actually disappointed. He wanted a more competitive final high school match.

“I wish it was a little tougher,” he said. “Tough matches are good. In tough matches I have to think a lot. In this one I just acted.”

At Mat Classic XXIV, the Nguyen act was first class.

The plot was disappointing for the other Clark County wrestler in a 4A state final. Dillon Thomas of Union had a one-point lead in the third period before losing 5-4 to San Voightlander of Mead in a battle between seniors.

But there was good news for Union, too. Eight Union wrestlers took home medals, and the Titans claimed the fourth-place trophy with 96.5 points. Tahoma won the title with 190 points.

Evergreen finished sixth with 77 points.

Union’s Bryson Page won four consecutive consolation matches — three of them on Saturday — to place third at 195 pounds.

Union senior Tyler Davis came back from his semifinal loss to win twice and finish third at 132 pounds.

After losing to teammate Thomas in the 170-pound semifinals, Union’s Matt Rice split two consolation matches to take fourth place.

Union junior JoJo Reynolds, who lost in the semifinals at 152 pounds, took sixth place. Cody Herschel placed eighth at 112 pounds.

At 160 pounds, Evergreen junior Anthony Thomas placed third and Battle Ground senior Juan Arellano took seventh place.

Evergreen’s Ramon Ortiz placed seventh at 126. Adam Peterson of Battle Ground was seventh at 138.

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