Christian Villani became Bellevue's first state champion in 36 years, and University of Spokane edged Decatur for the 3A boys team championship.
TACOMA — Like a bolt of lightning out of the clouds, sophomore Christian Villani became Bellevue’s first state wrestling champion in 36 years.
Last year, Villani reached regionals only to find out at the weigh-in that he was overweight for his 113-pound class.
Saturday, Villani (33-3) avenged those demons and overcame a hyperextended left elbow during regionals to thoroughly dominate Kelso’s Tyler Wicken with a 14-0 major decision for a Class 3A title at Mat Classic XXV in the Tacoma Dome.
“There was a lot of doubt over missing weight last year,” Villani said. “I was just more hungry this year for a title than food.”
Most Read Stories
As a freshman trying to make weight, Villani stepped on the scales with a 25-1 record, but never got a chance to prove he belonged at state.
“He was growing a lot as a freshman and things got real weird with his weight,” said Bellevue co-coach Kyle Smith. “He’s just like a sponge. You show him anything, even if it’s the higher end, he adapts and can use it right away. Ten minutes later he can do it. It’s unbelievable.”
Villani became just the fourth individual state champion for Bellevue, joining heavyweight Bill Strickland and 106-pounder Roy Brewster in 1963 and 122-pounder Ted Cheng in 1977. The 1963 team won the all-classification state title.
Villani won with longtime Bellevue coach Jim Richards (1960-75) watching at floor level.
Kelso fans jeered Villani last Saturday when he didn’t wrestle Wicken in the regional final.
“Some heated words came from the Kelso side,” Smith said. “It was at Kelso, so it was pretty ugly. It kind of became a little personal for Christian. It’s really why he wanted to make a statement. He didn’t want it to be a fluke.”
Villani did not allow four opponents to score a single point at Mat Classic. He scored a pin, two shutout wins and a technical fall. He was ahead in points in those matches 43-0.
Said Villani: “I wanted to wrestle (Wicken) at 100 percent. He didn’t look like he was 100 percent at this match.”
Wicken favored his left shoulder, starting in the second round. Villani was never threatened in the title match.
“He’s a good wrestler,” Villani said. “He’s tough as nails. I knew it was going to be tough. I just did what I needed to take it to him.”
University ended Enumclaw’s two-year run of 3A team titles. The Titans sent four wrestlers to the finals, but came up with just one champion in Tanner Orndorff at 195. Still, they had the title wrapped up before the finals and scored 142.5 points to runner-up Decatur’s 138.5.
Sunnyside was third with 130.5 and Enumclaw fourth with 92.
Kelso senior Josh Newberg joined the three-time state champions’ club with a 3-0 decision in the 126 final over Shorewood’s Matthew Floresca, who was previously unbeaten at 32-0. Newberg finished 40-1 this season and 138-13 for his career.
Floresca, fourth at 120 in 3A in 2012, gutted out a tough 2-1 decision over Bonney Lake’s Colton Tracy in the 126 semifinals. Tracy, who was second at 113 in 2012 to Newberg, went on to place third.
Decatur senior Kyle Gleed, after missing state last season with a broken right ankle and a dislocated shoulder, won the 285 title in 3A by injury default. He was ahead 4-3 against Marysville Getchell’s Alfredo Diaz before it was halted.
Gleed scored two points on a reversal 26 seconds into the second period for the one-point lead. During the move, Gleed’s foot caught Diaz in the forehead and stunned him.
Medical officials looked and Diaz and deemed him unfit to finish the match.
“It’s absolutely not the way I wanted to win it,” said Gleed, who finished the season 39-4. “It’s actually disappointing, but a state championship is a state championship and I’ll take it.”
North Kitsap senior Jake Velarde became the 10th boys wrestler in Washington history to win four state titles, but it wasn’t without a struggle. Velarde managed to down Fife’s Maverick Reddaway 3-1 in overtime in the 138-pound final in 2A to cap his career in grand style.
Velarde finished 41-1 this season and 157-5 in his career.
• In 1A, senior Joshua Salcedo of Granger captured his third state title, taking the 120-pound crown. He has 104 consecutive wins since falling in the 103 final as a freshman.
• Glacier Peak’s Sean Elledge repeated as 3A champion at 182, scoring a 6-5 win over Bonney Lake’s Chili Sabin.
• Timberline’s Stone Hart secured his second 3A 220-pound crown in a row. Hart capped a 34-0 season with a 10-4 win over Mount Spokane’s Tom Harvey.
• Meadowdale senior Morgan Smith collected a 3A state title at 160 pounds with a 4-2 decision over Oak Harbor’s Joshua Crebbin.
• In 1A, Granger senior Adrian Guerrero denied Cascade Christian junior Josh Crager his third title in a row with a 2-1 decision at 126. Guerrero scored a two-point takedown just before the final buzzer.
• In 2A, Othello halted a streak of five titles by Deer Park. The Huskies rode two titlists and two runners-up to a 133.5 to 111 margin over Deer Park.
• Everett senior Jessie Lopez, the champion at 132 in 2012, moved up two weight classes and settled for third at 145. He lost at tough 4-3 decision in the semifinals to Mount Spokane’s John Hoover, and that was Lopez’s only loss of the season in 37 matches.
• Decatur senior Nick Karis, the runner-up at 160 as a junior, fell 8-3 in the semifinals to defending 170-pound champ Sisto Pina of Kamiakin. Karis took third, coming back with a pin in 51 seconds over Oak Harbor’s Courtney Shavers. Karis finished 39-2.
• Kingston junior Bobby Reece III secured his third consecutive 2A title, taking a 3-1 decision over Centralia’s Cole Riccardo in the 160 final. He polished off the season 41-1 and is 119-1 in his career.