He missed much of the season with a bad back, but he managed the pain to become the 16th boy wrestler to win four state titles.

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TACOMA – At one point, Trent Baun didn’t even know if he could finish the season because of an ailing back.

After four weeks of the wrestling season, Baun sat out and got doctors’ opinions. He mulled his next move.

It all came down to pain management for Baun, who came back after missing more than half of his senior season with the Colville High School wrestling team.

Wrestling cautiously the rest of the season, Baun not only completed his senior year, but made history by joining the four-time state champion club at Mat Classic XXXI on Saturday night in the Tacoma Dome.

Baun was a technician and controlled his Class 1A 132-pound final, edging Sultan junior Aidan Fleming 3-1 to complete his improbable four-peat.

“My back just wasn’t stretching and was just tight,” said Baun, who finished his abbreviated senior season 15-1 and capped a 126-12 career. “I fell like it just mimics a disc (problem) but just pulls and anything in stance or using those back muscles just really cranks on it.

“So with that I’ve just pretty much been getting ahead in points and hang on if I have to. That’s what I did all day.”

Baun became the 16th boy to win four state titles and 20th wrestler overall.

“All the doctors thought wrestling with the back issue would have no adverse affect on him long-term,” his father, Tom Baun, said. “It was a matter of how much pain he could put up with.”

Baun plans to join his older brother, T.J., on the University of Providence (Great Falls, Mont.) wrestling team. T.J. won a pair of state titles for Colville.

“Even more important than having a four-time state champion is you have a quality young man,” Colville coach Randy Cloke said. “In the world today, we just need great people. You have a kid who has aspirations of going on to medical school.”

Baun wants to become a chiropractor.

Goddess nearly wins title

Jefferson junior Goddess Ma’alona-Faletogo, born with a rare eye disorder that left her legally blind, almost pulled off a state title at 235 pounds on the girls side.

Ma’alona-Faletogo lost to Stanwood’s Chanel Siva 3-2 in the 235 final, almost pulling off a throw for a takedown in the waning seconds. She lost her grip on the throw, costing her the winning two-point takedown.

“I heard my coach (Jeff Muraki) saying, ‘We need a takedown, we need a takedown,’ ” said Ma’alona-Faletogo, who was seventh at 235 last season. “I was like, ‘OK, I got this.’ I went for the throw and I had it, but it got reversed. It was heartbreaking at first, but to say I finished top three at state is amazing.”

Ma’alona-Faletogo lost her uncle, Iosia Faletogo, in a shooting on New Year’s Eve and this accomplishment was in his memory.

“Taking first or second is in his name,” she said. “I needed to make the state finals, because I wasn’t there to say goodbye.”

Ma’alona-Faletogo, whose condition is called Leber congenital amaurosis, gets verbal instructions throughout the match from her coach.

“All I can see are the bright lights,” she said. “I can’t see anybody. Being blind is just another reason to try harder. The goal senior year is to win a state title.”

More wrestlers, more time

With the 32-person brackets instead of the 16-person this year because the regional tournaments were cancelled because of snow, the tournament schedule lagged significantly on Day 2.

The championship matches, scheduled to start at 5 p.m., actually began at 7:45 p.m.

Saturday saw 1,848 matches compared to of 2018’s total of 840 matches, causing the long delay. Friday’s action only lagged by 55 minutes between the two sessions.

Also

  • A run of 22 seasons with a least one individual boys state champion ended for the Lake Stevens team under coach Brent Barnes.
  • For the first time in 20 years, schools from Eastern Washington swept the team titles. Tonasket won 1B/2B, Colville took 1A, Toppenish dominated 2A, Mount Spokane came out on top in 3A, Chiawana ran away with 4A and Union of Vancouver headed the girls field. Eastern side schools took all five classifications back in 1999.