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Mat Classic XXXV: New arrival Luke Webb thrives among Camas wrestlers

DesRochers twins among five Skyview semifinalists

By Micah Rice, Columbian Sports Editor
Published: February 16, 2024, 6:24pm
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TACOMA – The first reason Luke Webb moved to Camas was to find a stable living environment.

The second priority was to excel at football.

Yet the more Webb wrestles, the better he gets.

After clinching a spot in the 285-pound semifinals on the first day of Mat Classic XXXV on Friday, Webb shared hugs with coaches and teammates in the Tacoma Dome bleachers.

That’s part of an extended family that has embraced Webb since the Camas High junior moved from Southern California just before this winter’s wrestling season.

A first-team all-state linebacker at JSerra Catholic High School in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., Webb had lived with his stepmother. His mother died when he was eight and his father three years later.

“Things weren’t going too smooth,” Webb said. “I just figured I wanted to start a new life in a sense. To just come out here and do my thing. Every time I came out here for vacation, I was like ‘man, I don’t want to leave.’”

So Webb moved in with his aunt and uncle. With a stable home life, Webb has thrived on a Camas wrestling team that has many of Southwest Washington’s best wrestlers at the heavier weights.

“We all love each other,” Webb said. “It has been a brotherhood. It’s one wrestling room with two mats. We all just grind together and feel each other’s pain.”

Fresh off a regional title last weekend, Webb opened his state tournament with an 8-1 win over Alex Mondt of Tahoma. He then ground out a 3-0 win in the quarterfinals over a much bigger opponent, Miguel Angel Galves of Davis.

Webb is among eight Camas state qualifiers, six of whom wrestle at 165 pounds or larger. Also reaching Saturday’s semifinals are sophomore Simon Jarrell (165 pounds), freshman Kannon Freschette (175) and Jackson Lougen (190).

“At the end of the day we’ve got to push each other not only as good teammates but as family,” Webb said. “Because then every day we’re a family.”

DesRochers twins key Skyview’s strong day

Despite being freshmen, Jonas and Mason DesRochers weren’t fazed by the big stage at Mat Classic.

Big wrestling tournaments are nothing new for the twins from Skyview. Since they took up the sport in the first grade, both have racked up medals at the nation’s largest freestyle and Greco events.

So it’s no surprise the DesRochers are favored to compete for state titles. They handled business with little drama Friday. Both cruised into the semifinals with two decisive wins.

That highlighted a successful first day for Skyview with five wrestlers reaching the semifinals.

Top-ranked 126-pounder Owen Pritchard got two quick pins. Kyler Nelson won both his matches at 132 pounds and reigning champ JJ Schoenlein got a quick pin and a decisive 11-3 win at 175 pounds.

Mason DesRochers, the No. 2-ranked 120-pounder in Class 4A felt at home on one of the Tacoma Dome’s 24 mats. He scored two technical falls, beating Tahoma’s Eben Nau 19-4 before dispatching Jacob Christianson of Lake Stevens 15-1 in the quarterfinals.

Jonas DesRochers, the top-ranked 113-pounder in Class 4A, opened his tournament by pinning Derek O’Dell of Richland in 1:30. He followed with a 15-1 win over Tahoma’s Carter Tughan.

“I feel like we’ve been here before,” Jonas DesRochers said. “The big tournaments and the big stages, I think we’ve been here before. I think it keeps our heads calm. We don’t get flustered before a match.”

Though they look nearly identical and wrestle at neighboring weight classes, the DesRochers said each other has a different strength. Mason said his brother’s speed is most impressive while Jonas admires his sibling’s patience and strength.

“We drill together,” Mason DesRochers said. “But we don’t like to wrestle live against each other because it’s super hard.”

A state runner-up last year, Pritchard needed less than a minute to pin his two opponents Friday. He’ll face Battle Ground freshman Andrew Gray, who scored a 19-17 sudden victory upset over No. 6 Jesse Denson of Sunnyside.

Top-ranked girls advance

Faith Tarrant is seeking her third state title. Niah Cassidy is aiming for her first.

Yet those two share the distinction of being the top-ranked wrestler in their weight class headed into Mat Classic.

Tarrant had little trouble with her two 235-pound matches Friday. The Prairie junior opened with a pin in 1:31 before pinning down a quarterfinal win in just 31 seconds.

Tarrant is aiming for a second consecutive perfect season one year after pinning every opponent she faced as a sophomore.

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Cassidy is aiming to end her high school career as a state champion. The Union senior placed second last year and fourth as a sophomore.

Friday, Cassidy opened with a pin in 1:30 followed by a 14-0 win in the 130-pound quarterfinals.