Five Bear wrestlers have extended their seasons and will find out how good they are as they wrestle the states best 2A wrestlers at MAT CLASSIC XIV. Brandon Ashley, Junior Gonzalez, Josh Corriell, Josh Corke and Cody Roos all placed in the top 5 at regionals last weekend and will make the trip to the Tacoma Dome.
Ashley had a tough time at regionals after winning the district title. He will have to wrestle a match before the tournament actually starts to see if he will get to wrestle in round one. His opponent for that match is Derek Allen of Port Townsend. It is a good bet that Brandon will come through that match and be able to move on. If he does, he will get to wrestle Edgar Mendez of Connell in the first round. Edgar has pinned Brandon the last two times they have met. Brandon defeated Edgar 9-3 in an early season dual, so he is capable of beating him. The dissapointment at regionals could spur him on to having a great state tournament. He should be bringing home a medal by the end of the tournament.
Junior Gonzalez had his winning streak stopped at 15 by Matt Dillin. Junior would like to start a 4 match win streak on Friday. His first opponent is Kruze Kinder of Deer Park, who I know nothing about. First round matches are sometimes very interesting. Favorites sometimes lose in the first round. Junior will have to be ready from the opening whistle. Although not much is known about Kinder, he is at state, so he must be a good wrestler. If Junior wrestles with the aggressiveness that he has shown in the past 2 months, he should have no problem grabbing a state medal.
Will Josh Corke win the 8th State Title for the Bears? He has been unbeatable to this point. His opening round opponent is Zach Dean of Port Townsend. Zach better be ready to get a beating to start off the tournament. Josh learned a valuable lesson at regionals last year and is going to use that experience to take him to the top. Josh has a great chance of winning it all this year, but he will have to continue to wrestle cautiously and aggressively at the same time. This was never more evident than in his regional match with McCourtie. Josh wrestled cautiously the entire match, never letting McCourtie get in position to use his throws. But, when McCourtie got off balance in the OT period, Corke struck quick and decisively. His opponent in the second round could be Curt Smith of Medical Lake, who Josh defeated 3-1 for the Grandview Invite title.
Josh Corriell vaulted to the upperclass of wrestlers this year. His dramatic victory over Jimmy Orozco should give him tremendous confidence as he prepares for state. Josh wrestles hard every match and he will need to do that every match at state. 171 is a loaded weightclass with 5 returning state medalists. Josh has already defeated one of them, Orozco. He dominated another at the Grandview Classic, Josh Edmondson, despite losing in OT. Josh went 0-2 at state last year, but he gave it a good effort in both matches. Josh is capable of at least a top three finish, but he will have to be on top of his game with so many good wrestlers in his weightclass.
Cody Roos finally made it to state. After finishing 6th at regionals last year, Cody came through with a 4th place finish this year and will try his skills at state. Cody's first opponent will be Medical Lakes' Garrett Johnson. Garrett placed 1st at the Othello Invite and took 2nd's at the Grandview Classic and Deer Park Invite. Cody has been a pinning machine for most of his highschool career. 2 out of 5 times that Cody has stepped on the mat he has pinned his opponent. Quick pins really help out a wrestler at state and Roos may need some of those to help him advance to the medal round.
If the Bears are to climb back into the top ten in the team standings this year, all of these 5 wrestlers will have to contribute. The Tacoma Dome atmosphere can be intimidating, but each wrestler must remain focused. Corriell and Corke have been here before and should be past the intimidation factor. Ashley, Gonzalez and Roos are making their first appearance. They have been through a long year and the experience that each has should help them make it to the medal round. The practices are over and it is time to see just how far they have come. See you at state.