Ian Steen wasn’t expecting an easy win.
After all, the Graham-Kapowsin senior knew exactly how skilled his competition was in the championship match of the All-SPSL Wrestling Tournament.
Not only was Enumclaw senior Lucas Somera a fellow state champion, but the two have wrestled each other a half-dozen times over the years.
But instead of worrying, he did just the opposite Saturday night.
“I came into the match really calm,” Steen said. “I’ve never been that calm before a match before. I just waited for any openings because I know he likes to open up sometimes.”
Steen pinned Somera in 38 seconds to win the 145-pound weight class at Auburn High School.
“I was there and I grabbed him (to see) if he’d fall,” said Steen, the defending Class 4A champion at 138 pounds.
Somera, who also won a state title at 138 at the 3A level, said he expected the match to go longer. Last time the pair wrestled, they went three rounds.
“But I took a bad shot, got caught up, and he capitalized on my mistake,” he said.
Both agreed that it’s a greater challenge to face someone with whom they are so familiar.
“You already know what to expect,” Steen said, “but you also know that he’s that good.”
Defending 4A state champion Tahoma won the team competition with 251.5 points, ahead of 3A state title-holder Enumclaw (200) and Decatur (176.5).
But Bears coach Chris Feist said that winning wasn’t his team’s primary concern.
“Our mindset wasn’t to come in and protect our reputation or, ‘Gosh, we have to win this because people think we’re tough,’ ” said Feist, who said this season’s team has more depth across the board. “We have to come here and wrestle to the best of our ability and find opportunities to improve, and that’s what we did today.”
Tahoma’s winners included Cruz Velasquez, a 5-3 winner in the 132-pound title match over Tyson Gaillac of Auburn, and Edwin Torres, who defeated Puyallup’s Trent Nivela, 5-2, for the 285-pound title.
Glenn Robertson of Fife, the 2A state champion last season at 106 pounds, defeated Travis Filleau of Sumner, 7-2, for the 120-pound title, and Orting’s Fred Green, who holds 1A state title at 106 pounds, pinned Brett Dykman of Todd Beamer in 5 minutes, 59 seconds.
Sumner senior A.J. Atoique said he went into his championship match at 160 pounds with the attitude that he would just try his best and see what happened.
“I kept a clear head going into it,” said Atoique, who defeated Orting’s Beau Gore, 8-4. “I just went in and wrestled my hardest, like I had nothing to lose.”
Feist said the SPSL tournament, which pits wrestlers from different classifications against each other, provides a good opportunity for teams to get ready for the Mat Classic in February.
“This is our region,” he said. “These are the kids we have to beat to ultimately get to the state tournament, which is where we want to go.”