Anthony Thomas didn't go out a champion.
The Evergreen senior lost his last high school wrestling match, falling to an opponent who has won multiple national tournaments and settling for a silver medal in the Class 4A 170-pound bracket at Mat Classic.
Rest of All-Region team
Junior Godinho, jr., Union: Placed fourth at 4A state at 132; county champion; 4A GSHL first team.
Dallas Goodpaster, fr., Prairie: Placed fifth at 3A state at 220; county champ; 3A GSHL first team.
Tye Lommasson, jr., Camas: Class 4A state runner-up at 126; regional and district champion.
Gunnar Metzger, jr., Hudson’s Bay: Placed third at 3A state at 152; 3A GSHL first team.
Tyler Miller, jr., Stevenson: Class 1A state runner-up at 132; regional champion.
Ramon Ortiz, jr., Evergreen: Placed third at 4A state at 120; county champion; 4A GSHL first team.
Jon Reynolds, sr., Union: Placed sixth at 4A state at 160; county champion; 4A GSHL first team.
Daniel Rice, jr., Union: Placed fourth at 4A state at 113; county champion; 4A GSHL first team.
Will Treadwell, sr., Prairie: Placed third at 3A state at 120; county champion; 3A GSHL first team.
Te’Kwon Wallace, sr., Evergreen: Class 4A state runner-up at 152 pounds.
Kenji Yamashita, jr., Mountain View: Fourth at 3A state at 138; county champ; 3A GSHL first team.
But to say Thomas came up short would be far from accurate. In his last go-around for the Plainsmen, Thomas went 45-3. His second-place finish at state was the best of a four-year high school career that began with him beating out a senior to wrestle varsity at 152 pounds as a freshman.
And it was good enough to earn Thomas the All-Region wrestler of the year honor from The Columbian.
In two trips to the state tournament, Thomas lost twice -- both times to Chandler Rogers from Mead of Spokane. A year ago, it happened in the semifinals and Thomas finished third. This time, it happened in the finals, when Rogers pinned Thomas in the second round for his third consecutive state title.
"I had a game plan. In the first round I was doing well," Thomas said. "In the second round I just made a mistake. And against a multiple national champ, one mistake he's going to capitalize."
Thomas certainly has made the most of wrestling. A sport he first stuck with as a seventh-grader at Cascade Middle School -- at the encouragement of his father -- earned him success both on and off the mat.
"In the sixth and seventh grade I was a good kid, but I didn't do well in the classroom," Thomas said. "Starting in eighth grade my dad really pushed me to get good grades. Knock on wood, I haven't had a B-minus or lower since eighth grade."
Wrestling, Thomas said, "just makes you so mentally tough to where you can go into school and know you have a big exam and you just push through it."
Finishing strong has become a tradition for Evergreen wrestlers. The Plainsmen finished seventh in team points at the state tournament, better than any other Clark County program. Thomas and Te'Kwon Wallace brought home silver medals, and Ramon Ortiz placed third.
"Coach (Mark) Castle always tells us that once we get to districts, our records are 0-0. Rankings mean absolutely nothing," Thomas said. "Anything can happen."
ANTHONY THOMAS, Evergreen High School
- Placed second at 170 pounds in the Class 4A state tournament.
- Finished his senior season with 45 wins and three losses.
- Won his third consecutive district title.
- Won a regional championship.
- Won the Clark County Tournament championship at 170 pounds.
More about Anthony
- Last April, he went unbeaten to win the 157-pound title at the Cliff Keen Reno Worlds.
- Favorite school subjects: Math and chemistry because of the challenge. “They’re the most difficult courses I’ve ever taken. You always have to be on your toes. It’s kind of like with wrestling.”
- Anthony said he enjoys helping out the youth programs at Song of Hope church.
- Favorite movie: “Finding Nemo.” Why? “The turtles in the movies really got me. And I love watching cartoons.”
Next year and beyond
Thomas plans to attend Colorado State University-Pueblo on a wrestling scholarship, an opportunity he said was helped when he won his division at the Reno Worlds tournament.
“When friends ask why I wrestle, I say that not only do I love it, but it builds me as a person and helps me push through things.”