Lincoln came in to the Cardinal Wrestling Classic at Franklin Pierce High as a team on a mission.
Its objective? Domination.
“I want my team to be smart, not go hard,” Lincoln coach Edward LaCross said. “It’s kind of like boxing ... you have to space it out and just be smart.”
The Abes’ Jeremy Lukosh exemplified that philosophy with a 195-pound finals victory over Tanner Colburn of Wilson.
After already losing twice to his 3A Narrows rival this season, Colburn, along with Rams coach Josh Dickerson, prepared a different strategy to overcome Lukosh.
“Before the match, me and coach (Dickerson) were talking about how the last two times I was the aggressor,” Colburn said. “(I) wanted to make him the aggressor and come to me.”
The strategy worked in the first round as Colburn used Lukosh’s assertiveness against him, allowing the young Ram to gain a quick two-point lead. But that’s when the lightbulb went on for Lukosh.
“We’ve been in the finals against each a few times already,” Lukosh said. “I wanted to make it feel like I was coming to him ... so he came out and tried to attack me and I was able to come away with the win.”
The strategy reversal worked as Lukosh pulled off nine straight points on his way to a 10-3 victory.
“(Lukosh) is such a good wrestler ... he’s a great challenge for Colburn,” Dickerson said. “They’ll be seeing plenty of each other this season ... (starting) next Thursday at Lincoln.”
For the tournament, Lincoln finished in first with 250 points behind six first-place finishes and 14 placers. Franklin Pierce was second with 184.5 points, and Decatur third with 163.
Torre Eaton of fourth-place Issaquah (132 points) demonstrated he will be a force in the 113-pound weight class – he pinned every opponent he faced, with his semifinals and finals pins coming in under 30 seconds.
“I want to go all the way this year and win state,” Eaton said. “I just want to attack whoever I face and get the quick pin. This was a good first step.”
In the 120-pound weight class, Franklin Pierce freshman Quinton Foster proved he can hang with the big kids. His 13-0 major decision victory over West Seattle’s Anthony Tran was just that kind of statement.
“I feel like I took a step forward and just getting better,” Foster said. “I don’t think a freshman has gotten to the finals in a long time.”
Cardinal coach Jonathan Love agreed with the assessment: “He had some hard matches earlier this year, losing close matches. Today he just chipped away and chipped away. That’s something hard for a freshman to understand in high school. I think he will be a surprise for us this year.”