A topsy-turvy finish for wrestlers at state

Panthers and Papermakers bring home medals

By Dan Trujillo, Columbian staff writer

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Mat Classic XXIV turned Tyler Weiss upside down Saturday, but the Camas High School senior got right side up and grabbed a third-place medal.

Weiss rolled past Harley Kolp of Kamiakin 8-2 and Boyce Johnson of Sedro Woolley in the first two rounds of the 3A 132-pound state championship bracket Friday. In the semifinals Saturday morning, Weiss held a 2-0 advantage over Jessie Lopez of Everett with 20 seconds left on the clock. Camas assistant coach Alan Bohac said Weiss was grinding Lopez into the mat and wearing him down, but the referee turned the tables by penalizing Weiss for stalling and awarding Lopez with two points. All the sudden, the match was tied and continued into overtime.

Lopez took advantage of his newfound life. He escaped from Weiss’s grip to win the match 3-1. That evening, Lopez beat the number-one ranked wrestler in the weight class for the championship medal. Meanwhile, Weiss only had about an hour to steam over his loss in the semifinals. He still had his own medal to win.

“I knew I had to come back,” Weiss said. “If I didn’t, I’d regret it forever.”

Weiss got right back to work by defeating Izaec Quintanilla of North Central 4-2 to get the opportunity to wrestle for third place. Weiss then found himself fighting for his life against Randy Nimrick of Peninsula. The two wrestlers were deadlocked at 2-2, before Nimrick earned a 2-point takedown in the final minute of regulation.

“I was down points and just had to go,” Weiss said. “You don’t have anything to lose then. Worst thing that happens, you lose the match. That was already going to happen if I didn’t do something.”

Weiss pushed off the mat with all his might, and turned the tables on Nimrick with a reversal to tie the score at 4-4. In overtime, Weiss appeared to get the two points he needed to win but the referee said both wrestlers were out of the circle when the takedown happened. The match then went to sudden death.

Nimrick escaped to go up 5-4, but Weiss wasted little time getting a takedown in the center of the circle to gain his first lead in the match. It was now Nimrick’s turn to hold Weiss down for 30 seconds. He decided to let Weiss up and go for a takedown to tie, but Weiss fought him off for the duration to win 7-5. The third-place medal was his to take home.

“I didn’t want to have anything to do with any of those other places. I wanted to be the best, and third was the highest I could go,” Weiss said. “[Nimrick] is a tough little kitten. I wrestled him last year, and I think that match went into overtime too.”

Weiss is satisfied with his medal, and excited for what the future holds for his Camas teammates.

In his first trip to the Tacoma Dome, sophomore Marcus Hartman defeated Abundio Victoriano of Kelso 4-1 for the seventh-place medal at 113 pounds. Junior Vince Huber and freshman Bryant Elliot also each won a match in their first state tournaments.

“Your first time here is all about handling the emotions of state. It’s kind of overwhelming at first,” Weiss said. “I’m sure Marcus, Vince and Bryant are going to be a whole lot tougher next year. If they keep working hard, they can definitely get up high on that podium.”

Panthers go 3-for-3

Three Washougal High School wrestlers stepped into the Tacoma Dome for the first time Friday. And by the end of the Saturday, all three came home with state medals around their necks.

Although he was on his way up to the Mat Classic as an alternate, Stephen Camden received the opportunity of a lifetime when another wrestler in his weight class was injured and could not compete. Camden took his spot in the state tournament. He lost his first match, before getting his hand raised in the dome for the first time when his opponent had to forfeit due to an injury. Camden then earned his medal by beating Beau Bryan of Black Hills 6-5. Camden lost two tough matches Saturday, but it was still good enough for sixth place.

“We saw this as a rare opportunity for Stephen to jump into the fray and wrestle for a state medal, and he made the most of it,” said head coach John Carver. “He did everything he needed to do in practice to be prepared, and was ready to go when his name was called.”

Haven Camden, Stephen’s sister, came close to pinning Miexy Gonzales of Wardon in her medal match, but Gonzales held on for a 13-9 victory. Just a freshman, Haven pinned three opponents for sixth place.

After getting pinned in the first round Friday, Erin Locke fought back by beating Allison Lawton of Lakewood 7-5 and pinning Jamilah Ahmath of Rochester in 47 seconds. She grabbed an eighth-place medal from her first state tournament.

“Going from sub-region to state in one year was pretty amazing. I was happy to see all the hard work pay off,” Locke said. “Getting my hand raised here is one of the best feelings ever. The great thing about this is, I’m just a sophomore. I still got two more years to go.”