Kentwood’s Alex Long, top, battles Auburn Mountainview’s Brennen Hanson during their 152-pound semifinal at Mat Classic XXXI at the Tacoma Dome on Saturday. Long pulled out a 4-3 decision to reach the final. RACHEL CIAMPI, Kent Reporter

Kentwood’s Alex Long, top, battles Auburn Mountainview’s Brennen Hanson during their 152-pound semifinal at Mat Classic XXXI at the Tacoma Dome on Saturday. Long pulled out a 4-3 decision to reach the final. RACHEL CIAMPI, Kent Reporter

Long’s journey ends with silver at supersized state meet

Kentwood boys, girls scramble back to place

Kentwood’s Alex Long realized his dream by getting to the big show at the Tacoma Dome, and performing well.

The 152-pound senior went on a tear in his weight division, surprising Auburn Mountainview’s Brennen Hanson with a 4-3 decision in the semifinals at Mat Classic XXXI late Saturday night. But in the final, Curtis’ Adrian St. Germain (29-4), a two-time state champion, defused Long by major decision, 14-2.

“Never been here before. My first time in the Dome,” Long said afterward. “I’m a state medalist. It’s the best I could do and I’m happy about it. … I just wanted to be on top of that podium.”

Other Kentwood state placers were: Wylder Kraght, 113 pounds, sixth; Carson Yancey, 132, eighth; and Dominic Kremer, 195, seventh.

Kentlake’s Alex Lopez was seventh at 138 pounds. Kentridge’s Tyler Smith took seventh at 145 pounds. Rodrigo Teixeira of Kent-Meridian finished eighth at 160.

Kentwood was ninth in the team chase. Chiawana of Pasco ran away with the 4A title.

The WIAA doubled the draw for each weight class, a move necessitated after a major regional snowstorm wiped out last week’s regional tournaments. Larger fields meant more bouts that stretched the plans of coaches, tested the patience of fans and pushed the performances of wrestlers at a prolonged mat show played out well into the night.

Kentwood girls shine

The Conquerors’ Alexandria Sanford, a junior, settled for second at 145 pounds. Ivy Kraght, another junior at 135, finished third.

Sanford scored four quick, first-round falls before Ephrata senior Mya Spencer caught and pinned Sanford at 5:59 in the final.

“It got off to a rough start but I’m really happy with the way it ended,” Sanford said of her season. “I improved from last year … hopefully next year I’ll be able to take it all.”

Kraght pinned North Kitsap’s Elise Scrafford in the third round for the bronze.

Royal ending

A stinging loss 13 weeks ago followed Ofa He Lotu Tuifua to the Tacoma Dome.

But the Kent-Meridian sophomore wrestler quickly atoned for her only loss of the season, pinning the same girl, Aberdeen’s Tatum Heikkila, who pinned her in the same round at the season-opening Lady Jag Kickoff Invitational at Emerald Ridge on Dec. 1.

With the stakes much higher at state, Tuifua (16-1) went on the attack, took down Heikkila (24-1) and pinned her 37 seconds into the second round to repeat as 190-pound state champion. Tuifua, as a freshman in only her third year of organized wrestling, became the first Royal to wear a state girls wrestling crown by capturing the weight class last February.

Tuifua, a powerful and poised competitor, left little doubt as to who was the better wrestler in the anticipated rematch.

“I just wanted to be aggressive and wrestle smart,” Tuifua said.

The earlier loss to Heikkila only fueled Tuifua’s drive to the championship.

“It like woke me up,” she said. “It made me go harder.”

Added her coach, Jesus Valdez: “It (the loss) was in the back of her mind all year long. She’s been working hard all year long to try to get this. She dominated her, and she has dominated the other wrestlers this year. She is one of the more dominant wrestler that I have ever seen.”

Tuifua delivered four falls and a major decision during her title run.

Notes

The state finals, originally scheduled to start at 5 p.m. Saturday, went off at 7:45. … More than 2,400 wrestlers from six classifications competed over the weekend.


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Kentwood’s 113-pound freshman Wylder Kraght, right, takes on Davis’ Dominic Sowers during consolation round action at Mat Classic XXXI. Kraght won by a 7-2 decision. He later wound up sixth in the weight class. RACHEL CIAMPI, Kent Reporter

Kentwood’s 113-pound freshman Wylder Kraght, right, takes on Davis’ Dominic Sowers during consolation round action at Mat Classic XXXI. Kraght won by a 7-2 decision. He later wound up sixth in the weight class. RACHEL CIAMPI, Kent Reporter

Kentwood’s 195-pound sophomore Dominic Kremer, top, tangles with Central Valley of Spokane’s Cade Byus during consolation round action at Mat Classic XXXI. Kremer won by a 1-0 decision to finish seventh in his weight class. RACHEL CIAMPI, Kent Reporter

Kentwood’s 195-pound sophomore Dominic Kremer, top, tangles with Central Valley of Spokane’s Cade Byus during consolation round action at Mat Classic XXXI. Kremer won by a 1-0 decision to finish seventh in his weight class. RACHEL CIAMPI, Kent Reporter

Kent-Meridian coach Jesus Valdez talks to Ofa He Lotu Tuifua after the sophomore captured the 190-pound title at Mat Classic XXXI. MARK KLAAS, Kent Reporter

Kent-Meridian coach Jesus Valdez talks to Ofa He Lotu Tuifua after the sophomore captured the 190-pound title at Mat Classic XXXI. MARK KLAAS, Kent Reporter

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