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Washougal, Hockinson seniors set sights on third Mat Classic appearance after winning regionals

Hockinson’s Wheeler, Washougal’s Jones earn a third trip to state

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:

WASHOUGAL — Moments after winning their Class 2A regional finals matches, Hockinson’s Cody Wheeler and Washougal’s Henry Jones thought back to the losses that pushed each of them harder.

The senior wrestlers, both of whom will be making their third trip to the Mat Classic next week, were two of four local champions at the 2A Region 3 tournament held at Washougal High on Saturday.

Washougal’s Brody Davis (106 pounds) and Columbia River’s Tennyson Kurtz (138), both sophomores, also won their finals matches. The host Panthers took second as a team with 149 points, while W.F. West posted 296 to take the team title.

For Hockinson’s Wheeler (195), a defeat in the regional finals at Tumwater last spring marked the end of his junior season. With no state championship event being held in 2021, his focus shifted to senior year, and a postseason with a more ceremonious finish.

“Since that was the last match of the season, it really stuck with me,” Wheeler said. “It made me work harder during the offseason and just strive for that state championship, not just the regional championship.”

21 Photos
Washougal's Brody Davis walks off the mat a champion after defeating Aberdeen's Talatheon Warners at 106 pounds in the 2A Region 3 Wrestling Tournament on Saturday, Feb. 12, 2022, at Washougal High School.
2A district wrestling tournament, Feb. 12, 2022 Photo Gallery

Wheeler won 2A sub-districts last week at Hockinson, then started Saturday’s regionals with a pair of pins that took all of 28 and 34 seconds, respectively. In the finals, Wheeler got a near fall on Aberdeen’s Liam Hiekkila as part of a 15-5 lead in the second round, before going on to pin Hiekkila late in the third.

The senior qualified for the Mat Classic in each of his first two high school seasons, though didn’t place in either year. Now he gets another chance at the podium.

“It’s an honor, I mean, the Mat Classic is just an amazing tournament,” Wheeler said. “I’m really looking forward to it, and I really want the redemption from my freshman and sophomore seasons.”

Jones (220) defeated W.F. West’s Andrew Penland by a 12-2 major decision in the finals. He said his senior season has progressed “about as well as it could’ve gone,” especially considering the multi-week pause Clark County wrestlers faced in December in response to multiple COVID-19 outbreaks at tournaments.

But much like Wheeler, the few losses Jones experienced were the ones that stuck with him.

“I’ve wrestled a lot, pretty much every Saturday, every dual meet,” Jones said. “I win a lot, but then there are those few crucial matches that I lost by one or two points that really teach you what you need to do better.

“You think about those matches that you lose and that’s devastating because you’re like, ‘I lost.’ But it keeps your mind in the game because you know you can lose. It keeps you humble, it keeps your mind grounded on who you are, your past and where you can be.”

Jones placed eighth at the Mat Classic in 2020, the best of his two prior state appearances. This time, his eyes are on the top prize.

“I’m going for number one, I’m going for gold,” Jones said. “I got to represent, I got to try my best, and to do that I have to set high goals. I’m excited to go, I’m ready to go, along with most of my team. We’ve got a good group going.”

Among those Washougal teammates joining Jones next week is Davis, who appeared to have his finals match won in regulation before Aberdeen’s Talatheon Warners evened the score at 5-5 just before the third period expired.

The late drama didn’t faze Davis, however, as the sophomore pinned Warners 47 seconds into overtime.

Washougal also had a runner-up finish from Lucas Golphenee (120); Caleb Davis (113), Ryan Langston (138) and Will Cooper (170) took third; Grady Lieziert (132) and Blake Mattern (145) finished fourth. The top four in each weight class qualify for state.

Kurtz was the first of three River finalists to compete, and ultimately, the lone regional champ for the Rapids.

The sophomore scored the first takedown against Cristo Parriott of W.F. West, led 5-2 at the end of the first before pinning Parriott at the 2:47 mark.

“(Feels) pretty dang great,” Kurtz said. “I worked by butt off this year, all the years before and it’s all leading up to now.”

Other state qualifiers for River were second-place finishers Adam Deeney (145) and Gage Newman (160); Caden Porter (152) and Christian Barragan (182) in third; and Diego Carrion (285) in fourth.

Woodland’s Mason Rickard also reached the finals and placed second following a third-round pin against Aberdeen’s Drew Lock.

2A REGION 3 MEET

At Washougal HS

Team scores — W.F. West 296, Washougal 149, Aberdeen 130.5, Columbia River 120

Championship matches

(Both advance to state)

106 — Brody Davis (Wash) p. Talatheon Warners (A) 6:47; 120 — Jesus Campos (Cen) d. Lucas Golphenee (Wash) 18-2; 126 — Drew Lock (A) p. Mason Rickard (Wood) 5:32; 138 — Tennyson Kurtz (CR) p. Cristo Parriott (WFW) 2:47; 145 — Blake Ely (WFW) d. Adam Deeney (CR) 11-2; 160 — Tucker Land (WFW) p. Gage Newman (CR) 3:14; 195 — Cody Wheeler (Hoc) p. Liam Hiekkila (A) 5:36; 220 — Henry Jones (Wash) d. Andrew Penland (WFW) 12-2

Third-place matches

(Both advance to state)

113 — Caleb Davis (Wash) d. Michael Hatton (A) 5-3; 126 — Jake McKee (Hoc) d. Tucker Alexander (Rid) 11-8; 132 — Ethan Hsu (Hoc) p. Grady Lieziert (Wash) 2:20; 138 — Ryan Langston (Wash) p. Drevon Cooper (Rid) 4:15; 145 — Ty Foister (WFW) p. Blake Mattern (Wash) 1:19; 152 — Caden Porter (CR) d. Eathan Labouff (BH) 18-0; 160 — Hayden Sciera (WFW) p. Austin Wilson (Hoc) 3:33; 170 — William Cooper (Wash) d. Tyler West (RAL) 7-5; 182 — Christian Barragan (CR) d. Cota Stover (Rid) 5-2; 195 — Logan Busig (Wood) p. Zander Escobar (MM) 1:45; 220 — Sabastian Bustos (Cen) d. Sebastian Vasquez (MM) 4-2; 285 — Aiden Aguero (T) p. Diego Carrion (CR) 1:49

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