A brief look at things of note in prep wrestling this season.
A midseason look at things of note in prep wrestling this season:
1 Edmonds-Woodway junior Noah Cuzzetto, who won at 106 pounds last season, is 13-1 at 120 and trying to become only the school’s second two-time champion.
“Having the title makes me want to work harder, so I don’t let other people down or myself down,” said Cuzzetto. “I put a lot of work in and went to a lot of (summer) camps. I stayed after practice. It felt really nice to have my hard work pay off.”
Only Mike Rankin has won two titles for the Warriors, at 190 pounds in 1984 and an unlimited crown in 1985.
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“Coach (Brian Alfi) keeps telling me, ‘You’re not the best yet,’ and it’s definitely motivated me,” Cuzzetto said. “I want to be like the top dog and I want to make my name in history at this school. I want to be up on the wall multiple times. It definitely drives me to win that next one and maybe win one my senior year.”
Cuzzetto went 28-17 as a freshman at 102 pounds. He was 32-3 as a sophomore last year.
“The kids he lost to as a freshman were very top-end kids, and he was a little undersized,” said Alfi, 26, the Warriors’ second-year coach. “It made him realize he had to put in the hard work to get better. I think he was humbled as a freshman, and it really refocused him. Now that he’s bigger, he’s a monster in his weight class.”
Cuzzetto is ranked No. 1 for all classifications at 120 pounds by www.washingtonwrestlingreport.net.
His older brother, Matt, a senior, wrestles at 160 and there isn’t a moment where the two don’t push each other competitively.
“No matter what we are doing, we are always competing,” said Noah, 16, who is 14 months younger than Matt. “If it’s running a sprint, we’re always next to each other trying to beat each other. If we’re picking up trash, we have to pick up more than the other guy.”
2 Matthew Floresca of Shorewood is off to a 15-0 start while dominating some of the state’s top wrestlers at 126 and 132 pounds.
“He’s tough and he’s good, but some of those 132-pounders can be pretty big, so he’s going at 126 the rest of the season,” said Derek Norton, Shorewood’s fifth-year coach. “He’s put in a ton of work and he’s really hungry.
“He’s been on varsity the day he walked onto the wrestling mat at Shorewood. Matthew thinks he can beat anybody. He’s worked hard enough, he knows he can win.”
The last state champion from Shorewood was Tim Hester in 2008.
Floresca, who has a 73-7 career record, is ranked No. 1 at 126 pounds for all state classifications by www.washingtonwrestlingreport.net.
The Thunderbirds’ leader took fourth at 120 to finish 29-3 as a sophomore after nailing down seventh at 112 as a freshman while finishing 29-4.
“He was really disappointed with fourth place last year,” Norton said. “He thinks he should have won it.”
Floresca lost a heartbreaking 1-0 decision in the state quarterfinals last season to eventual champion Andrew Cunningham of Bonney Lake, who graduated.
3 Several wrestlers are pushing for perfection. Kentlake sophomore Nicholas Smith started 18-0 at 106 pounds, and Everett senior Jessie Lopez (138) and Lake Stevens senior Brandon Johnson (285) were 17-0 entering this week.
Lopez won the Class 3A state title at 132 and Johnson was runner-up in 4A at 285 last year.
4 Showdowns loom for SPSL teams. Enumclaw, ranked No. 2, travels to No. 4 Decatur in an SPSL 3A dual meet on Thursday. Defending 4A state champ Tahoma travels to 3A Enumclaw for the 11th “Battle of the Bone” on Jan. 26.
5 Four state champions and 56 state qualifiers from last year participated in Saturday’s Jack Reynolds Tournament of Excellence at Mercer Island. The event has raised $50,000 and produced 15 scholarships over its five years.
Reynolds was an educator and coach in the Issaquah School District for 36 years. He died at 61 in 2008 after battling melanoma cancer.