TACOMA – Ryan Christensen is a high-profile wrestler with a low-profile demeanor.
He acknowledged his second 4A state wrestling championship Saturday with a slight nod of his head and a quick thumbs up to the Mat Classic XXVI crowd at the Tacoma Dome.
“I’m really excited, but there’s no need to show off,” the 182-pound senior said.
Christensen’s credentials speak for themselves. He is 37-0 on the season and a school-record 121-2 for his career, which includes a second-place finish at 160 as a sophomore – his lone in-state loss.
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He took pride in becoming Woodinville’s first two-time champion.
“No one else is ever going to be the first multiple state champion,” said Christensen, who is ranked second in the nation at his weight class and has signed with Wisconsin.
Lake Stevens added to its collection of state team titles, now 10 strong, pulling away from Moses Lake, 133-116.5
Sophomore Michael Solar clinched it with his thrilling 6-5 win over Moses Lake’s Fernando Leyva at 113 pounds, scoring a takedown with five seconds left.
The victory meant a lot for a lot of different reasons. It gave Solar a second straight title and avenged his only in-state loss over the past two years. But for Solar, the biggest incentive was that team championship.
“This year, there was so much more on the line,” he said. “I knew the team counted on me. It’s amazing.”
Junior Cody Vigoren also won at 195 for the Vikings, pinning all four of his opponents, but senior Noah Cuzzetto came up short at 132. He lost 6-2 in overtime to Union’s Junior Godinho in the biggest upset of the tournament. Cuzzetto had won two titles at Edmonds-Woodway before moving to Lake Stevens last summer.
In all, eight Lake Stevens wrestlers took home medals. Alex Rodorigo (120) and Logan Johnson (160) each finished fourth, Jake Douglass (126) took fifth and both Tyler Hedland (113) and Zach Cunningham (138) wound up seventh.
“It’s a really, really nice group of kids that work hard and support each other,” coach Brent Barnes said. “It’s a really fun group. …They had this as their goal and they really took ownership of it.”
• Hunter Lord of Lynnwood accomplished his goal by claiming the 160-pound title. He raced to a 10-0 lead in his final match and ultimately won 10-2 to become the Royals’ first wrestling champion since 2003. He placed fourth at the same weight last year.
• Matt Voss of Puyallup used a late escape to defend his 220-pound crown, 5-4 over Mead’s Mason Ju. It was his 80th consecutive victory, capping a 42-0 campaign this season.
• Tahoma, which won the 2012 team title, just missed a team trophy, finishing fifth, and went home without an individual champion when senior Cruz Velasquez lost the 126-pound final to Pasco junior Timmy Martinez, 3-1. Martinez won at 120 last year. Seven others Tahoma wrestlers finished in the top eight, led by third-place finishers Justin Weiding (145) and Tucker Mjelde (160).
• Darren Harris of Yelm, who lost to Cuzzetto in the 113-pound final last year after winning a 3A crown at 106 as a freshman, returned to the top of the podium with a win at 120 to cap an unbeaten season. But the 5-0 decision marked the first match he didn’t win by pin.
• Kent-Meridian sophomore Amos Daigbe enjoyed a good run at 170 before falling in the championship match, where he wound up on his back twice and lost an 11-5 decision.
• Daniel Vi, a Kentridge senior, had title hopes at 285, but wound up second after Puyallup’s Trent Nivala caught and pinned him in the third round.
• A trio of area wrestlers took home third-place medals in the 4A tournament to close out their prep careers – Torre Eaton of Issaquah (113), Tyler Webley of Kamiak (170) and Tristan Baus of Snohomish (220). All three seniors suffered their lone tourney losses in the semis.
• Arlington sophomore Jeremy Nygard wound up third after a tough, 1-0 loss in the semifinals. He ultimately beat Kentridge sophomore Derek Freitag, who placed fourth. Freitag also suffered a one-point semifinal loss, 3-2.
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