The Mustangs and the Eagles were undefeated in KingCo dual matches this season. They'll look to prove they're champs at conference tournaments this weekend.
Redmond and Issaquah will get the chance to prove their successful regular seasons weren’t flukes as the high-school wrestling postseason commences this weekend.
Redmond captured the KingCo 3A/2A regular-season crown and Issaquah claimed the KingCo 4A championship.
They will get the chance to win their respective conference tournament – which serves as a sub-regional – in a combined KingCo 3A and 4A event on Friday and Saturday at Juanita High School.
The Mustang boys toured through KingCo 3A/2A with a perfect 7-0 record and there’s reason for optimism at the league event despite some injuries and lineup shuffles, according to Redmond coach Robert Kaneko.
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Redmond last won a KingCo regular-season title in wrestling in 2008, tying with Woodinville and Lake Washington. Now, the pressure ratchets up in the postseason.
“We had the best group of kids I’ve ever coached and they worked their tails off,” said Kaneko, the second-year coach. “They’re the nicest kids, but they’re fearless and they go after anybody.”
Leading the Mustangs into the weekend fray is sophomore 145-pounder Jeremy Hernandez (26-2), who went 7-0 in league duals and is chasing the single-season school record of 24 pins. He’s at 22.
Other top Mustang wrestlers hoping to land the team atop the standings on Saturday night when finals begin at 5:30 p.m. are seniors Judah Dorsey (138, 26-3), Luke Kennedy (182, 13-3) and Nick Kaneko (195, 30-2).
On the girls side for Redmond, senior Nadia Medvinsky (16-2) could have a realistic state-title hope at 135 pounds after she and five other teammates made it through Wednesday’s sub-regionals. She enters this week with a No. 2 ranking at 140 pounds, according to WashingtonWrestlingReport.net. Also with a chance to do well at state is Redmond freshman 105-pounder Molly Williams (15-3).
Kennedy, ranked No. 15 at 182 in Class 3A, missed a good part of the first half of the season in concussion protocol, but has been in form of late. Because of his brief number of appearances in league, his seeding could be misleading.
“He’s likely to upset some people,” Kaneko said. “He’s wrestling great right now.”
Kaneko expects a strong challenge for the team title from Lake Washington, which fell 41-30 in the final regular-season dual match of the season against Redmond.
“We’ve got a legit shot at it,” Kaneko said of winning Saturday’s team title. “Lake Washington gave us a run for our money in our most recent dual, and they’ll probably do it again.”
Issaquah boys posted a perfect 7-0 mark to capture KingCo 4A’s regular-season crown. The Eagles wrapped up their second consecutive regular-season crown, secured their third in four seasons and it marked the eighth season in a row with a top-two finish.
“We haven’t peaked yet,” said Issaquah coach Kirk Hyatt, the 15th-year leader. “The goal is to always peaks by Regions [on Feb. 11]. We’re at that point where I think the momentum is still climbing. It’s that time to teach them to continually move forward regardless of what place they get, because the goal is to get to regionals.
“It’s about having that opportunity to go to state. Right now, we’re just making sure we fight through the brackets.”
A pair of Eagles with big chances to reach regionals and state after a solid showing on Friday and Saturday at sub-regionals are junior Kaleb Solusod, ranked No. 9 at 160 pounds in 4A, and senior Dean Pearson, who wrestles at 182.
Solusod has overcome lower back issue during the middle of the season and is 16-0 after going 5-0 against KingCo 4A competition. Pearson sports a 22-4 record with 14 pins after posting a 7-0 mark against league rivals.
“Kaleb’s a grinder,” said Hyatt, who started at Issaquah as an assistant in 1995 and has been part of sending at least one wrestler to state each season. “Dean, he’s peaking right now.”
Looking to extend success into the postseason for the Eagles are 120-pound senior William Tickman (18-3), 106-pound freshman Carson Tanner (21-3) and 152-pound sophomore Kamil Soloweji (12-11). Tickman was a state participant at 106 as a sophomore and Tanner is just taking off as a competitor.
“Carson is 99 pounds of fury wrestling up on these kids,” said Hyatt, whose squad has finished in the top two of the KingCo tournament for the last six seasons.
Here are the local Class 4A sub-regional tournament listings for Friday and Saturday:
WesCo 4A sub-regional at Glacier Peak High School.
District 3 NPSL 4A sub-regionals at Auburn, Kent-Meridian and Puyallup HS.
Here are the local Class 3A sub-regional tournament listings:
WesCo 3A South Division sub-regional at Edmonds-Woodway HS.
WesCo 3A North Division sub-regional at Stanwood HS.
Metro 3A League sub-regional at Eastside Catholic HS.
District 3 PCL 3A sub-regional at Bonney Lake HS.
Here are the local Class 2A sub-regional tournament listings:
District 1 South sub-regional at Cedarcrest HS.
District 1 North sub-regional at Sedro-Woolley HS.
District 3 sub-regional at Orting HS.
Here are the local Class 1A sub-regional tournament listings:
District 1 sub-regional at Mount Baker HS.
District 3 sub-regional at Vashon HS.
Here are the local Class 1B/2B sub-regional tournament listings:
1B/2B sub-regional at Darrington HS.
Here are the local girls sub-regional tournament listings:
WesCo sub-regional at Burlington-Edison.
District 3 sub-regionals at Emerald Ridge, White River and Sequim HS.
Junior Mason Phillips of Stanwood takes his unbeaten 16-0 season record with six pins and career record of 39-0 into Saturday’s WesCo 3A North Division sub-regional tournament in his home gymnasium. Phillips, ranked No. 1 at 145 pounds for all classifications and in Class 3A, won the 138 class in 3A last season.
Host Curtis captured its own Berserker Invitational on Saturday with 254.5 points to fend off Lake Stevens’ and its total of 204. Puyallup was third in the team race with 143.5. The Vikings secured seven individual titles from Aizayah Yacapin (106), Evan Janson (113), Nathan Hiatt (120), Ketner Fields (160), Alez Stuart (170), Jay Roberts (195) and Calhoun Helmberger (285). Puyallup’s Josh Franich won the 145-pound class and the Vikings’ wrestler is in great form for a run at a state-title repeat.