The Vikings reclaimed the WesCo 4A subregional team championship from Snohomish with a dominating performance.
SNOHOMISH — Jesse Peterson stares at the bottle of water, his thirst building.
Not for a sip, but for the success he associates with it.
the bottle — which has sat in front of his treadmill all wrestling season — represents the weaknesses and disappointment he felt after being one of two Lake Stevens wrestlers who failed to make weight the first day of last year’s WesCo 4A subregional tournament.
It cost Peterson a chance to return to the state finals (he placed second at 106 pounds as a sophomore) and cost his team crucial postseason points.
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“I worked so hard and just let it slip away,” said Peterson, who was trying to make weight at 120. “I felt like crap.”
Especially when a teammate sent him a photo of Snohomish with the subregional team trophy, something that had belonged to Lake Stevens the previous 12 years.
This season, there has been no questioning Peterson’s motivation or dedication. He took another step toward his ultimate goal — a state championship at 138 — by winning the subregional title Saturday.
And further order was restored as top-ranked Lake Stevens regained the team title with a whopping 476.5 points. The Vikings advanced 18 wrestlers to the Region I tournament at Snohomish next Saturday. Snohomish (312) placed second and Cascade (217.5) third.
Peterson, who started the season at 132 and moved up a weight class after Christmas, was one of eight champions for Lake Stevens. Senior Eric Soler, who won a state title at 126 last season, won at 145 to improve to 18-1. He has split two matches this season with Graham-Kapowsin’s Ian Steen, a state champ at 138 last year.
The Vikings’ other first-place finishers Saturday were Michael Soler (106), Jake Douglas (120), Logan Johnson (160), Cody Vigoren (170), Shaq Reed (220) and Brandon Johnson (285), who improved to 27-0.
None felt as rejuvenated as Peterson (28-6), who said he was initially snubbed after last year’s subregionals. He bought his own ticket into the state tournament and bravely joined Lake Stevens wrestlers in the stands. Amends were made.
Coach Brent Barnes later told him about the bottle of water sitting in his office. Barnes had originally planned to give it to Peterson at subs last year as a reminder to hydrate. Now, he told him, it was a reminder of the responsibilities and commitment wrestlers have, both to themselves and teammates.
One day, Peterson took the bottle and brought it home. As the season progressed, he started thinking about when it would be appropriate to drink it.
“After you win a state title,” a teammate said.
“Sounds pretty cool to me,” Peterson responded.
• Soler was one of two returning state champions in the tournament. Edmonds-Woodway’s Noah Cuzzetto won at 103 as a sophomore last season. He has been ranked No. 1 at 120 this year, but dropped down to 113. He beat Alex Rodorigo of Lake Stevens in Saturday’s final, 6-2, to up his record to 31-1. Cuzzetto’s only loss came in the Tri-State semifinals to an Oregon wrestler.
• E-W senior Matt Cuzzetto, Noah’s brother who is ranked No. 3 in 4A at 160, suffered a torn labrum two weeks ago to end his season.
• Rob Zabel of Snohomish was voted WesCo 4A coach of the year.