TACOMA – Hunter Lord didn’t think he’d last.
With his stomach churning late in his Class 4A quarterfinal match at Mat Classic XXVI Friday, it was either stick or get sick.
So Lord pushed for the third-round pin, then raced to the nearest trash can and tossed his lunch, later explaining an earlier snack hadn’t sat well. It simply served as added motivation to finish off his opponent.
“It made me want to pin him real quick,” the Lynnwood High School senior said.
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Lord (39-2), who placed fourth at last year’s state wrestling tournament, needs two more victories Saturday at the Tacoma Dome to earn the 160-pound title – which would bee the school’s first since 2003.
“It’s been awhile since Lynnwood had a wrestling state champ, so hopefully I can get it,” he said.
Lake Stevens, on the other hand, regularly turns out champions – like Michael Solar, who won at 106 as a freshman last year. Solar is back in the semifinals again, this year at 113, and is hoping to help the Vikings capture a second straight team title, which would be their 10th overall.
“To me, the team is the most important,” Solar said. “We’re all really good friends and it’s so much more fun if we can all celebrate a championship instead of just one person.”
He is one of six Viking wrestlers in the semis – including 132-pound senior Noah Cuzzetto, who was a two-time champion for Edmonds-Woodway before moving to Lake Stevens last summer. Alex Rodorigo (120), Jake Douglas (126), Logan Johnson (160) and Cody Vigoren (195) also advanced, pushing the Vikings to a big first-day lead over Tahoma, 70-55.5.
“We had a great day,” a beaming coach Brent Barnes said, clad in a bright paisley purple shirt. “Hopefully we can capitalize on it tomorrow. It’s not done yet, but we’ve put ourselves in great position.”
All 11 Lake Stevens qualifiers won at least one match, and in addition to the six semifinalists, two others are guaranteed medals – Tyler Hedland (113) and Zach Cunningham (138), who had to win a pigtail match to even get into the final 16.
• Ryan Christensen of Woodinville was impressive as usual in advancing to the semis at 182, where he is the defending champion and ranked No. 2 in the nation. He pinned both of his opponents to improve to 35-0 on the season and 119-2 over his career.
• Tahoma pushed three wrestlers into the semis – Nick Whitehead (113), Cruz Velasquez (126) and Tucker Mjelde (160) – and is assured of five other medalists.
• Top-ranked Union of Vancouver, which brought in eight regional champions among its 11 qualifiers, went just 6-5 in the first round, but has four semifinalists and finished the first day tied for fourth with Yelm at 51, a half-point behind Moses Lake. The Chiefs also got four through to the semis, while Yelm – which topped Lake Stevens for the Region I team title last Saturday – advanced three.