Jake Grantham was a terror the past two high school wrestling seasons in the 195-pound weight division — claiming league and regional titles to go with a pair of placings at the state tournament.
The lone problem? Before the start of wrestling season, Grantham was walking around about 30 pounds heavier than his chosen weight classification.
“It was rough. I was cutting so much weight during the season,” Grantham said. “If I ever had a match go into the third round, I was done. I had no energy left, no strength at all.”
Standing 6-foot-3 and possessing a broad frame, Grantham was rapidly outgrowing the division. It was decided before his senior season at North Thurston that he would move up a weight class.
The move hasn’t kept him from piling up the wins.
Grantham improved to 26-1 this season by making short work of Sultan’s Taylor Comfort in the 220-pound final Saturday at the River Ridge Invitational.
Grantham, ranked second in Class 3A among the state’s 220-pound wrestlers, notched the victory in a speedy 54 seconds. He took a shade longer — 59 seconds — in dispatching his semifinal opponent, Manny Dorhoffer of Mount Rainier.
“I feel so much healthier, so much happier at this weight,” said Grantham, who also earned Associated Press All-State honors as an offensive lineman in football. “I was able to maintain my speed and my strength at this weight. I just feel very comfortable on the mat now.”
Grantham’s opponent in the final was no slouch, either: Comfort, a 2013 state participant in 2A, entered the match 24-1.
Comfort’s appearance in the final helped Sultan take home the second-place trophy with 200.5 points.
Yelm won the overall team title with 212. Thomas Munoz was the Tornados’ lone individual champion, winning the 113-pound class with a 7-0 win over Tony Pham of Renton.
Host River Ridge had three champions, tying Lindbergh, Renton and Sultan for the most among the 13 participating schools.
The Hawks received victories from Daniel Montesa (132 pounds), Elijah Camacho (160) and Vaughn Berg (182).
Camacho (13-2) posted arguably the strongest win of the tournament, defeating two-time state placer Conner Small of Liberty (Issaquah), 15-6. Small entered with a 28-0 mark.