TACOMA – If one knows Isaiah Diggs, they should never expect him to come up short in anything except in physical stature.
The 5-foot-4 Diggs, the Decatur High School junior, didn’t disappoint, grinding out a hard-fought 7-6 decision over Mountain View of Vancouver’s Kenji Yamashita in the 138-pound final in Class 3A at Mat Classic XXVI on Saturday in the Tacoma Dome.
Diggs capped a 37-3 junior campaign by using his fitness to survive the final. Once the mission was complete, Diggs jumped into the arms of his coach, Mike Bressler, and a lot ran through his mind, including the loss of his father, Reginald Diggs, in 2007.
“It just feels great,” said Diggs, also a standout football player. “I love being here and winning. It’s one of the best feelings of my life. I knew I had to compete with him and push.
“My first thought was my dad, and that I made him proud. Also, that I did it and I accomplished this goal.”
Decatur fell short of the school’s first title for the second year in a row. North Central of Spokane, on the strength of four finalists to the Gators’ two, won the team race 108.5-100. Sunnyside was third with 97 points, University of Spokane fourth with 94 and Bonney Lake fifth with 93.5.
The Gators fell four points shy in 2013 to University of Spokane 142.5-138.5.
“We had one round that just didn’t go our way and that cost us,” Bressler said.
The road to a state championship was anything but easy for Shorewood senior Matthew Floresca, but he finally scored the honor he’s coveted to complete a stellar high-school career.
Floresca, who escaped with a 4-3 quadruple overtime win over Lakes’ Andrew Ramirez on Friday, survived being controlled from the top by University of Spokane sophomore Cam Sorensen for the final two rounds. Floresca built a 2-0 lead on a reversal just 24 seconds into the match and he finished off a patient 3-0 win over Sorensen in the 126-pound final.
“I’m feeling pretty tired, but definitely rewarded,” said Floresca, who went 35-1 season and 125-9 career mark after falling 3-0 in last year’s 126 final to three-time champ Josh Newberg. “It feels good to finally get what I came out here to get.”
For Bellevue junior Christian Villani, his biggest opponent all season has been his health and fitness level due to micro fractures in the L5 area of his spine.
But the guts of Villani prevailed and the Wolverines’ star wrapped up his second state title in a row, following last year’s 132 crown with another at 145 in dominating fashion.
Villani (28-1), who started the season a month and half late due to his health, won his final by technical fall – up 17-0 in the third round – over Peninsula junior Zach Goddard.
“It’s been really rough, and it’s hurt me cutting weight,” Villani said. “I wasn’t able to do as much cardio. I had to be precise in everything I ate. I just focused on technique more this year than last year.”
Decatur senior Trysten Dawson put up a valiant fight in the 120-pound final in 3A, clinging to a 7-4 lead over defending state champion Jesse Barajas after two rounds before taking a tough-luck 9-8 loss.
Barajas won 113 in 3A last season. Dawson finished the season 35-5.
Stanwood senior Foster Wade topped Meadowdale senior Ciaran Ball 5-4 in three overtimes in the 195-pound title bout of 3A, but not without a controversial finish at the end of regulation.
Ball (36-2 season, 109-10 career) appeared to score a winning takedown with six seconds left in regulation time, but referees ruled the scorekeeper started the clock late by five seconds, according to Meadowdale coach Brian Boardman.
Those points would’ve broken a 4-4 tie. Ultimately, an escape by Wade six seconds into the third OT won the match.
• Kingston senior Bobby Reece III capped off his fine career by becoming just the 11th male wrestler to win four consecutive state titles in the state of Washington.
Reece devoured all four of his state opponents by pin, including a stick of Sedro-Woolley’s Nate Vaughn in 1:28 in the 170-pound title match in 2A. Reece’s four pins totaled just 8:02 this weekend.
The Buccaneers’ standout finished the season 36-1 and his career 149-2.
• Fred Green, a junior from Orting, stayed on pace to match Reece’s feat of four titles in four seasons.
Green topped Toppenish’s Sergio Morales by major decision 11-0 in the 126 final in 2A for his third title in a row. Green finished the season 36-3.
• At 182 in 1A, Cruz Del Angel posted his believed-to-be state-best 116th consecutive victory – a 17-2 technical fall over Freeman’s Markus Golbach. It was Del Angel’s third state crown in a row and he finished the season 42-0.
• Bonney Lake senior Chili Sabin waited a year to erase a one-point loss in the 182 final of 3A.
Sabin (33-0) came through with his state title at 182 this time, beating Enumclaw’s Wyley Stewart 6-0 in this year’s championship bout. Sabin polished off 121-12 career success, wiping away the sting of a 6-5 loss to Glacier Peak’s Sean Elledge in 2013.
• Winning their second state titles in a row were Deer Park’s Joe Grable (145 in 2A), Ephrata’s Tyrus Kemp (195 in 2A), Connell’s Roberto Orozco (145 in 1A), Chelan’s Asa Schwartz (220 in 1A) and Liberty Bell’s Trent Skelton (120 in 1B/2B). Fife’s Monike Sarte (285 in 2A) was denied in his back-to-back bid by Othello’s Bubba Ruiz 4-2.
• Coming from behind, Deer Park snatched the team title from Sedro-Woolley in 2A, giving the Stags their sixth title in seven years. Sedro-Woolley was denied its 12th state crown, falling 109-104 to Deer Park.
• Liberty Bell took home its second 1B/2B state crown in a row, easily outdistancing the field and runner-up Kittitas 103-68. Blaine won the 1A title, edging Forks 110.5-109.
• Senior Malik Haythorne (38-5) didn’t end his season the way he dreamed, but his second-place finish was the first placing for a Hazen wrestler since 2002.
Haythorne fell by pin in 2:37 to Hudson’s Bay senior Gunnar Metzger (32-1) in the 152-pound title bout in 3A.
• In a battle of top wrestlers, Bonney Lake’s Colton Tracy fended off Kelso’s Tyler Wicken 9-7 for the 132-pound crown in 3A. Tracy, who had a pair of second places at state and a third at 126 last season, screamed out in joy and pointed to his family and fans in the stands after the tense battle.
The final pitted the top two wrestlers in 3A at 132 in the state rankings. Tracy finished off a senior season of 41-2 and career of 111-12.
Wicken was second at 132 for the second year in a row after fifth and third place.
• Izaec Quintanilla of North Central earned his second state title in a row in 3A, but it wasn’t without a fight. Quintanilla, whose teammate and freshman brother, Clai, won 106, fought off the challenge of junior Marysville-Pilchuck’s Killian Page 3-2 in the 160 final.
Quintanilla (40-2) hiked his career mark to 114-11 with one more season to go. Page came into the final 35-0.
• Enumclaw sophomore Kyle Opland took third at 113 in 3A, beating Hanford’s Blake Llarenas of Hanford. Mercer Island junior Taylan Yuasa settled for sixth at 113.
• Auburn Mountainview freshman Brahm Trujillo finished third at 120 in 3A. Mount Si senior Eli Clure was fourth at 120.
• At 126 in 3A, Stanwood’s West Weinert came in fourth and Decatur sophomore Leviticus Arizpe rebounded for fifth from a pair of losses, including a tough 6-4 defeat in the semis to University of Spokane’s Cam Sorensen.
• Matthew Iwicki, an Eastside Catholic junior who took the 120 class in 3A last season, settled for third at 132 in 3A.
• Jahlee Vester of Oak Harbor finished her career with a third-place trophy at 138 in 3A. Keoni Aparis of Decatur was sixth at 138.
• Senior Caid Caveness of Bonney Lake bounced back from a tough quarterfinal loss to Bellevue’s Christian Villani on Friday to claim third place at 145 in 3A. Mount Si’s Ryley Absher capped his career with a fifth-place showing at 145 in 3A.
• Bonney Lake senior Cayle Williams was third at 152 in 3A.
• Liberty of Issaquah junior Conner Small nabbed third place at 160 in 3A, rebounding from a 6-5 semifinal loss to Marysville-Pilchuck’s Killian Page.
• Marysville-Pilchuck junior Drew Hatch collected third place at 170 in 3A. Romney Noel of Liberty of Issaquah took fifth at 170 in 3A.
• Garrett Arrona, a junior from Stanwood, rallied for third place at 182 in 3A. Senior Syd Springberg of Mountlake Terrace was eighth at 182 in 3A.
• Mercer Island junior Evan Condon came through the back door for third place at 195 in 3A after falling in quarterfinals.
• Junior Alec Palander of Bellevue secured fourth place at 220 in 3A. Sebastian Ferraro of Kennedy was seventh at 220.
• Glacier Peak junior Mosese Fifita garnered third place at 285 in 3A. Dakota Weir, a senior from Auburn Mountainview, took sixth at 285.
• Junior Daniel Fruh gave North Beach its first individual state champion, winning 285 in 1B/2B. Fruh won by pin in 3:04 over Reardan’s Heiko Birkle.