Matt Voss went into Mat Classic XXV with a perfect record, and he left the Tacoma Dome still undefeated.
The Puyallup Vikings’ wrestler captured the state championship in the Class 4A 220-pound finals with a convincing 5-2 victory against Wenatchee’s Kyle Lesmeister.
“I never thought this was going to happen,” Voss said. “It is an incredible blessing. I want to thank my parents and coaches for their support.”
After a scoreless first round, Voss scored an escape, a double-leg takedown and got two near-fall points in the second period to take a 5-0 lead. Lesmeister scored two points in the final round, but Voss never was in jeopardy.
Voss finished with a sparkling 37-0 record.
Puyallup head coach Aaron Lee said Voss and the coaches devised a strategy against Lesmeister, and Voss followed it perfectly.
“We talked about it right before his match,” Lee said. “We were going to feel him out in the first round and just keep pushing and pushing. As soon as we felt he (Lesmeister) was getting frustrated, we told Matt to get your shot.
“It’s exactly what we planned. Matt got the throw by and the double-leg takedown.”
Lee said Voss prepares for wrestling the way Peyton Manning does for NFL games.
“I never get nervous with Matt because he prepares so well,” he said. “Confidence and arrogance are two different things, and Matt is confident because he is prepared.”
Puyallup freshman Jordyn Bartelson pinned Federal Way’s Bianca Arizpe in the second round to win the state title in the girls 118-pound division.
Vikings girls coach Brian Franich said having a ninth-grader bring home a first-place medal is something that doesn’t happen every day.
“It is almost unheard of,” Franich said. “It couldn’t happen to a better kid. It is just amazing. Her dad (Bryan Bartelson) has coached Jordyn her whole life. He deserves all the credit.”
Jordyn credited her dad, assistant coach Julio Rodriguez and her sister, Brooklyn, for helping her reach her dream at Mat Classic.
“It is really exciting,” she said. “I have never been here before, and I didn’t have anything to lose as a freshman. I just gave it my all.
“I was glad my sister was here, because she has always been my practice partner my entire life. She is a year younger than me and definitely helped me to get where I am.”
Puyallup’s Joey Meyer, who went 1-2 at the state tournament last year, placed fourth in the 195-pound Class 4A division.
“It feels awesome,” Meyer said. “It just makes me proud, knowing that I have improved. I don’t care about placements. I just want to improve every single year.”
Other Puyallup wrestlers who placed at Mat Classic were Trent Nivala (fourth at 285), Haley Franich (fourth at 106) and Jasmine Tuilaepa (fifth at 190).
Three Rogers wrestlers placed at the Mat Classic. Senior Damian Jackson collected a fifth-place finish in the 4A 152-pound division after he beat Heritage’s Gabe Morales 1-0.
“It’s nice to go out on a win,” Jackson said. “I’m a little disappointed in my finish because I feel like I could have done better. It’s the state tournament, and there is a lot of tough guys.
“It’s an honor to be here,” he added. “This experience is what a lot of people just dream about.”
Rogers 145-pounder Brandon Brenenstahl pinned Mead’s David Munding to place fifth. Brenenstahl earned the pin with his favorite move — the head-and-arm.
Brenenstahl lost his first two matches at the Mat Classic last year.
“It just feels amazing,” he said. “From last year to this year, everything has changed so much. I have worked a lot harder, and it has paid off.”
He said to do it with his favorite move was icing on the cake.
“I think the other coaches (Mead) knew about it, because they were coaching him up to stop it,” Brenenstahl said. “It felt good to hit it, even when they knew it was coming.”
Rogers head coach David Johnston was proud to see his two team captains make it to the podium.
“Damian has been a big part of our program for three years,” Johnston said. “Just to see him finish his high school career as a medalist is special. You don’t get that opportunity to win that last match of your high school career too often, and he was able to do that.
“Brandon had a great tournament for us,” the coach added. “It will be nice to have him back next year.”
In the girls tournament, Rogers’ Kendra Smith placed sixth at 100 pounds. Her coach, Tom Tripple, said she is the first two-time state placer in the history of the Rams’ girls program.
Meanwhile, the Sumner Spartans had four wrestlers place in the Class 2A portion of the tournament. They were Travis Filleau (sixth at 113), Jeremy Jackson (eighth at 138), Jed Schliesman (fifth at 145) and AJ Atoigue (fifth at 152).
“The guys are excited,” Spartans coach Matthew Harshman said. “The big difference is: this year, we expected to place. That was our expectation, that we belonged here.
“We are starting to change the momentum at Sumner where this is the expectation every year,” Harshman added. “We hit our goals.”
Cascade Christian junior Josh Crager finished second in the Class 1A 126-pound division.
Cougars’ 160-pounder Damon Davis placed sixth.
Sports Editor Shaun Scott can be reached at 253-552-7002 or by email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter, @herald_shaun.