TEAM TO WATCH
Bonney Lake enters as the favorite to win the 3A state title this year after placing third last year. And that’s mostly because of the Panthers’ two smallest wrestlers — Brenden Chaowanapibool and Brandon Kaylor. Kaylor, a junior with two 106-pound state titles, is competing in the 113-pound class now to make room for Chaowanapibool, a sophomore who placed sixth in the 106-pound class last year. Bonney Lake placed second at the Rose City Invite in Portland this past weekend, in an invitational made up of programs from Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Colorado, with Chaowanapibool, Kaylor and Jason Day (170) winning individual titles.
1. 4A-title bound?
Tahoma has placed in the top 10 in the 4A Mat Classic in 12 consecutive years. That’s been overshadowed by Lake Stevens’ dominance, winning seven of the past 10 state titles, including last year. But Tahoma, with a lineup as deep as it is talented, is the favorite to win its second title since 2011. Ryden Fu, Kione Gill, Dagen Kramer, Austin Michalski, Justin Sipilia and Nick Whitehead all finished in the top five in their weight classes last year.
2. Cardinals reload
Orting was 10.5 points short of a 2A state team title last year, losing 154-143.5 to Toppenish. But it returns a pair of two-time state champions in Alex Cruz (113) and Ben Gore (145). Both of them, and Evan Barger (220) were part of the Cardinals’ squad at the Walsh Ironman in Ohio this past weekend. Cruz, a junior, has won back-to-back state titles, while Gore won as a freshman, took third as a sophomore, and won again last year.
3. Pirates rebuild
Vashon Island is coming off a third-place Class 1A finish at Mat Classic, but lost seven seniors to graduation from last year. Coach Anders Blomgren, entering his 17th year at Vashon, took Adrian St. Germain, Luke Larson and Hunter Burger to the Cadet Freestyle and Greco Roman Nationals this past summer in Fargo, North Dakota, to help prepare them for this season. St. Germain won the 145-pound state title as a freshman last year.
WRESTLERS TO WATCH
Brandon Kaylor, Bonney Lake, jr.: Ranked No. 7 in the nation by FloWrestling in the 106-pound weight class. Has two state titles.
Nick Whitehead, Tahoma, sr.: Owns Tahoma’s career pins record with 88 and has 114 wins. But hoping this year ends in first title.
Josh Franich, Puyallup, sr.: Hearing-impairment (he’s deaf in left ear) didn’t stop Franich from 132-pound state title a year ago.
Ben Gore, Orting, sr.: He’s reached the state semifinals three consecutive years and could end career as a three-time champ.
Flor Parker-Borrero, Wilson, jr.: With two titles her first two years, Parker-Borrero on pace to join exclusive four-time girls state champion club.
BEST OF THE REST
CLASS 4A: Austin Michalski, Tahoma, so. (106 pounds); C.J. Richmond, Sumner, so. (113); Mason Eaglin, South Kitsap, jr. (120); Lane Holland, Graham-Kapowsin, jr. (126); Jake Treece, Enumclaw, sr. (132); Layn Pannkuk, Olympia, sr. (138); Quinton Southcott, Enumclaw, jr. (138); Trace Fischlin, Sumner, sr. (152); Alex Stuart, Curtis, sr. (170); Kione Gill, Tahoma, jr. (182); Calhoun Helmberger, Curtis, sr. (220).
CLASS 3A: Brenden Chaowanapibool, Bonney Lake, so. (106); Michael Campigotto, Peninsula, sr. (113); Mason Sabin, Bonney Lake, jr. (126); Dante Springsteen, Bethel, sr. (152); Zach Koeller, Bonney Lake, sr. (152); Adam Benson, Timberline (160), sr.; Keegan Dorsey, Bonney Lake, sr. (170); Tyler Losch, Yelm, sr. (182); Jeremy Smith, Yelm, sr. (195); Will Willsey, Lincoln, sr. (220); Jackson Potts, Foss, sr. (285).
CLASS 2A: Max Wheeler, White River, so. (106); Matthew Anfeldt, Tumwater, sr. (106); Alex Cruz, Orting, jr. (113); Ryan Redford, White River, jr. (132); Nathan Moore, White River, so. (138); Blayne Haderman, River Ridge, sr. (220); Cy Hicks, Tumwater, jr. (285); Kenny Marll, Orting, sr. (285).
CLASS 1A: Luke Larson, Vashon Island, jr. (113); Adrian St. Germain, Vashon Island, so. (145).
GIRLS: Raisa Pleasants, Thomas Jefferson, so. (100); Brooklyn Bartelson, Puyallup, sr. (110); Auna Carpio, Decatur, sr. (115); Jasmine Pleasants, Thomas Jefferson, sr. (130); Erin Redford, White River, sr. (130); Sabrina Perez, Kentwood, jr. (155); Tally Thomas, Federal Way, sr. (170); Jacey Linder, White River, sr. (190); Mariah Stewart, Federal Way, jr. (235).
Note: weights based on finish of 2015-16 season.
TJ Cotterill: email@example.com