Defending state champion Tahoma had no trouble notching another regional team title as five Bears wrestlers won their weight classes.
AUBURN — One thing came to mind as Tim Whitehead walked off the mat after losing the 113-pound championship match at last year’s state tournament.
“My immediate thought was, ‘Next year’s mine,’ ” he said. “I’m still looking to take that state title.”
Whitehead took another step in that direction by winning the Class 4A Region II title at 120 pounds Saturday at Auburn High School, helping Tahoma roll to another team crown with 226 points.
Whitehead, who placed eighth at 103 as a junior, was pleased to even reach the state final last season and didn’t walk away disappointed after losing to Michael Nguyen, who became a two-time champion.
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“I was actually happy with it,” Whitehead said. “I went into the state tournament with the goal of placing top-four.”
His efforts helped the Bears win their first 4A team championship. This year they are ranked No. 2 in the state behind Lake Stevens. Coach Chris Feist said the Bears kept themselves in good position to repeat after qualifying 11 wrestlers for next weekend’s state meet.
“I knew if we had 10 or more (at state) we’d have a chance to bring home a trophy,” he said.
Including the big one?
“Absolutely,” he said. “At this point, it just depends on how well we wrestle. We have to wrestle well to get the big one. We have to have things go our way, and I think things could go our way.”
Whitehead was one of five individual champs for Tahoma. He was joined by Cruz Velasquez (126), Gabe Boynay (132), Matt Hopkins (195) and Ed Torres (285).
Third-ranked Graham-Kapowsin finished second with 150 points. The Eagles advanced six to state, led by Ian Steen at 145. Steen won the 138-pound title at last year’s state tourney. Unranked Beamer got seven through and placed third with 115 points.
• James West, Auburn’s 182-pounder, pinned two of three opponents en route to the title. He has 26 pins this season, one short of the school record.
• Kentlake sophomore Nick Smith suffered his first defeat of the season, losing 5-0 in the 106-pound final to Graham-Kapowsin’s Spencer Schroeder, who took second at state last year.
• G-K sophomore Corde Ferreira held on to beat Kent-Meridian senior Joshua Smith at 138. It was just the second loss of the season for Smith.
• Scott Stirts of Graham-Kapowsin was named the region’s boys coach of the year.