With Voss’ leadership, Puyallup’s trio of seniors on to semifinals

todd.milles@thenewstribune.comFebruary 22, 2014 

Timberline’s Nico Laiuppa put Mount Spokane’s Alec Hoover on his back en route to a 12-3 win Friday in the 3A 120-pound quarterfinals of Mat Classic at the Tacoma Dome. Laiuppa meets Decatur’s Trysten Dawson in the semifinals on Saturday.


Matt Voss doesn’t mind sharing stories.

As long as they serve as motivation.

Puyallup High School is home to three of the best upper-weight combatants you’re ever going to see on one high school wrestling team.

Considering Voss (220 pounds) is the lone returning Class 4A state champion, he serves as the ringleader. His teammates — 195-pounder Joseph Meyer and 285-pounder Trent Nivala — are patient listeners and diligent workers.

The goal, Voss says, is for the three of them to stand on the championship podium at Mat Classic XXVI together as seniors.

“I’ve told them of my experience and how awesome it was, and I think they are ready,” Voss said. “They want it.”

After Friday, all three are halfway to their goal. Meyer eked out a 2-1 quarterfinal decision over Snohomish’s Justin Kearney; Voss blanked Chiawana’s Abzael Loeza, 9-0, in the quarterfinals; and Nivala pinned Heritage’s Antonio Pulido in 3 minutes, 16 seconds in the round of eight.

“I would definitely love to watch them, but it is difficult sometimes when you wrestle at the same time,” Voss said. “It is a love-hate relationship.”

Love-hate relationship?

“The hate part is that I don’t get to watch them,” Voss said.

Speaking of a love-hate relationship, that is what Cascade Christian’s Josh Crager might have with the Tacoma Dome.

It housed his two Class 1A state titles in 2011 and 2012, but also his narrow 2-1 finals loss to Grandview’s Adrian Guerrero last season, ruining his chance at becoming a four-time state champion.

If that loss was at all devastating, Crager does not let on. He quietly goes about his business, wrestling with a renewed purpose.

Crager dominated Zillah’s Joseph St. George, pinning him in 2:38 in the Class 1A 132 quarterfinals.

“I am prepared,” Crager said.


Tahoma and Puyallup are tops in SPSL 4A with three semifinalists. Rogers almost joined them. Beau Shatto (120) and Brandon Brenenstahl (152) advanced to their semifinal rounds, and Ty Wilson nearly upset Central Valley’s Colton Orrino, one of the News Tribune’s nine “Untouchables,” in the 145-pound quarterfinals before falling, 8-7. … Yelm’s Darren Harris, an “Untouchables” pick for 2013-14, continued his win-only-by-pin ways, earning two more Friday. The final one was in 3 minutes, 32 seconds over Tahoma’s Justin Sipila in the 120 4A quarterfinals. … Lincoln High School has a pair in the 3A semifinals — B.J. Hawthorne (182) and Aliyas Fletcher (195). The last time the Abes sent two wrestlers that far was 1997, when Cash Edwards and Jess Workman won 4A titles. … Vashon Island advanced Chase Wickman (106), Shane Armstrong (170) and Preston Morris (195) to the 1A semifinals, best in the Nisqually League. The last time the Pirates had that many in the final four was 2008. … The four local returning state girls champions — Puyallup’s Jordyn Bartelson (118), Beamer’s Arian Carpio (124), Centralia’s Ryan Gibbons (190) and Enumclaw’s K.C. Moulden (235) — all won their first two matches by fall.

Todd Milles: 253-597-8442 todd.milles@thenewstribune.com

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