It’s been a long time coming, but it might be time to start thinking of Decatur High School as a Class 3A wrestling power. At the very least the Gators proved on Saturday at Mat Classic XXV at the Tacoma Dome that they deserve a place at the big boy table.
Decatur did all it could to throw off the “program on the rise” moniker it has been handed in recent years and nearly earned a state team title in the process, narrowly falling to University in one of the closest team title races.
University finished with 142.5 points, the Gators had 138.5, and Sunnyside was third with 130.5. Enumclaw overcame a tough first day to place fourth with 92 points.
“You can’t get much closer,” Decatur coach Mike Bressler said. “I couldn’t be happier. We didn’t get the kids in the finals we wanted to, and to lose that semifinal and come back is tough. We did that.”
Decatur’s run was capped by a championship performance from senior Kyle Gleed. The standout heavyweight won his title by injury default when he accidentally kicked his opponent in the head during a Granby roll that gave him a 4-3 lead.
“It’s not the way I was hoping to win,” Gleed said. “It’s a little disappointing to be honest with you. But a state championship is a state championship and I will take it.”
Gleed missed the state tournament last season after injuring his ankle and shoulder during regionals, making this run that much more special. The second-place finish in the team standings wasn’t bad either.
“This is a step in the right direction,” Gleed said. “This is the highest this team has ever scored in school history so this is a building block.”
Creating building blocks is something Timberline’s Stone Hart also knows something about.
He successfully defended his 220-pound title with a 10-4 decision over Tom Harvey from Mount Spokane.
“People always want to see the top person fall,” Hart said. “I was just trying not to let that happen.”
Bonney Lake’s Chili Sabin (182) was trying to knock off a No. 1 when he squared off with defending state champion Sean Elledge of Glacier Peak for a title.
Elledge held a 3-2 lead going into the third round, but Sabin took a quick 4-3 lead with a takedown. An escape and a single-leg by Elledge made it 6-4 with 44 seconds to go before Sabin pulled to 6-5. As time ticked away Sabin just couldn’t get that one last good shot to win.
Peninsula’s Casey Larson (152) was another wrestler who came close to a title. He was looking to become the Seahawks’ first state champion in nearly a decade, but a rough close to the second round proved too much to overcome against North Central’s Izaec Quntanilla.
Larson held a 4-2 lead with less than 10 seconds remaining in the second when Quntanilla caught Larson riding too high while looking to get out of the round, reversed Larson to his back and quickly took a 7-4 advantage.
Larson closed the gap to 7-6 halfway through the third, but couldn’t get a final takedown to tie things up before time ran out.
“I know that this stings for him right now,” Peninsula coach Mark Nickels said. “But this doesn’t take away from what he has done and what he has meant to the program. From the get-go he has done everything right.”
TEAM WINNER: University (1421/2 points).
LOCAL INDIVIDUAL CHAMPIONS: Stone Hart, sr., Timberline (220); Kyle Gleed, sr., Decatur (285).
RECAP: Kelso’s Josh Newberg leaves as a three-time champion following his 3-0 win over Shorewood’s Matthew Floresca in the 126 final. University won its first 3A title, but the Titans twice won the 4A championship (2005, 2010).email@example.com