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Boys Mat Classic: Skyview claims four titles as Dome drama reigns

Union’s Koyama also wins state championship in tight final match

By Micah Rice, Columbian Sports Editor
Published: February 17, 2024, 9:33pm

TACOMA – Early in Saturday’s championship matches, Jonas DesRochers scored a win that had the drama of a grand finale.

It was just the opening act.

Five Clark County boys won state wrestling titles at Mat Classic XXXV, each seeming to outdo each other in tension and story plot.

Of Skyview’s five finalists, four became champions. Joining DesRocher atop the podium were his twin brother Mason DesRochers, senior Owen Pritchard and repeat champion JJ Schoenlein.

Union junior Noah Koyama also finished a near-perfect season with a state title, reaching the Tacoma Dome mountaintop after placing second last year and third as a freshman.

42 Photos
Attendees of Mat Classic XXXV watch championship matches Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024, during the Mat Classic state wrestling tournament at Tacoma Dome.
Mat Classic XXXV Photo Gallery

Jonas DesRochers set the tone. He trailed 5-2 late in his 113-pound title match against reigning champ Curtis Carlisle of Rogers-Puyallup.

In the final 20 seconds, the freshman scored a takedown and a near fall to take a 6-5 lead and swipe away the title. It wasn’t even DesRocher’s go-to move.

“My dad has always tried to get us to do pinch headlocks,” DesRochers said. “I’ve never been good at them. But I knew I had to get at least three (points).”

DesRochers’ rally came after a lengthy stoppage as officials debated a complaint from Skyview’s coaches that Carlisle should be penalized for fleeing the circle.

That three-minute break allowed DesRochers to regroup.

“I was doubting myself a little,” he said. “But my dad was like ‘you’re good. You’re going to get this.”

Watching his twin win fired up Mason DesRochers, who was next up in the 120-pound title match. He triumphed 1-0 against Tahoma’s Owen Marshall, making a lone point scored with 1:07 left hold up.

“I was honestly more happy for my brother’s win than my own,” he said. “I usually don’t wrestle as good if my brother loses. Him getting that big win got me fired up.”

Marshall almost stole the win in the final seconds when he nearly took DesRochers’ back. The official signaled no takedown over howls of protest from Tahoma’s coaches.

“I didn’t think it was two, but it shouldn’t have been that close,” DesRochers said.

What followed was a 126-pound title match that was more a long-awaited coronation than a tense tossup. Skyview senior Owen Pritchard capped his high school career with a title that narrowly eluded him the previous two years.

A takedown late in the second period gave top-ranked Pritchard a 2-1 lead over No. 2 Juan Hoffman of Kamiakin.

The third period saw Pritchard wrestle with the intelligence of someone who placed second as a junior and third the prior year. He relied on his defense and took advantage of a lapse to score two insurance points, eventually winning 5-2.

“I only had to win by one point, I didn’t need to pin him,” Pritchard said. “I just wanted to get the job done.”

Pritchard celebrated after the final whistle with a hand-spring flip. It capped a dominant Mat Classic that saw him reach the title match with three pins, each in less than one minute.

Koyama also wrangled a state title that eluded the Union junior last year, when he reached the title match. His 138-pound title match against reigning champ Daeton Johnson was among the night’s best.

Protecting a 2-1 lead entering final 10 seconds, Koyama found himself tied when the Chiawana opponent slipped away for an escape. But Koyama didn’t let up, immediately countering with a shot that scored a takedown with seven seconds left for a 4-2 win.

“I didn’t want it to go to overtime because I already had a stall (warning),” Koyama said. “Things weren’t going as I planned, so I was just going to re-attack, attack, attack as much as I can in the last few seconds.”

That split-second choice to be aggressive ended up unlocking a lifelong dream.

“It’s definitely a big relief, a lot of weight off my back,” Koyama said. “Just knowing I finally did it and accomplished my goal since I was little. I’m really happy.”

Schoenlein earned his second state title in a triumph made sweeter by the adversity he overcame to earn it.

The Skyview junior wasn’t sure he would wrestle this season after recovering from myelitis, an inflammation of the spinal cord. Six months ago, that condition had him hospitalized for five days.

“I didn’t know if I was going to ever walk right again,” Schoenlein said. “My whole body was numb and I didn’t know if I was going to wrestle again. So coming back from that injury and winning a second state title means a lot to me.”

Schoenlein credited his family and coaches for guiding and inspiring him through a bumpy season that saw him lose four matches, including in the quarterfinals of last weekend’s regional tournament.

Schoenlein rediscovered his state championship form at Mat Classic, culminating in a 10-2 win over Sumner’s Matt King in the 175-pound title match.

“It was a stressful season,” Schoenlein said. “I took a couple of lumps and losses in matches that I probably shouldn’t have lost. But at the end of the day, none of those matter now. I got the job done, did what I wanted to do and accomplished my goal for the year.”

Five finish runners-up

Five Clark County wrestlers earned second-place finishes, with three coming narrowly short of their championship goals.

Camas senior Jackson Lougen nearly scored a takedown in the final seconds, but fell 7-6 in the 190-pound championship match to Ronell Parker-Borerro of Graham-Kapowsin.

Union senior Armando Nicacio gave a tough test to top-ranked Devan Carter of Graham-Kapowsin, falling 3-1 in the 165-pound title match. The two had clashed earlier this season at the Pac Coast Championships, where Carter won 5-0.

Mountain View senior Ayden Denbo took a 1-0 lead into the final period of the Class 3A 215-pound title match. But top-ranked Brendan Hughes of Mount Spokane won 3-2 with an escape followed by a takedown.

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Prairie senior Mason Frei entered Mat Classic as the No. 2-ranked 175-pounder in Class 3A. But the top-ranked wrestler proved too tough as Capital’s Ezekiel McEwen repeated as state champion with a pin at the 3:15 mark.

Seton Catholic freshman Connor Crum reached the Class 1A final at 120 pounds. But Castle Rock’s Cooper Williams took the title 6-2, outscoring Crum 4-1 in the third period.