It’s not like the focus of the Orting Cardinals was any different Saturday than its has been all season.
Since the first day of practice back in November, the goal among the wrestlers in the powerhouse program has been a state team title.
Are the Cardinals contenders next week? The 2A Region 2 wrestling tournament at River Ridge might have been a tune-up for what is to come at next weekend’s Mat Classic inside the Tacoma Dome: four regional champions from Orting’s nine finalists — including an all-Cardinals final at 138 pounds.
Orting junior Hunter Mullins’ 11-2 decision over Lindbergh’s James Garcia in the heavyweight final capped an impressive showing, as the Cardinals racked up 243 points to win the regional team race by 111 points over runner-up Washington (132). In all, the Cardinals will send 11 to the Mat Classic, plus two alternates.
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“Overall, we were dominant and happy with how we all performed,” Mullins said. “Now that we’re less than a week away, I think this team will be able to win state this year.”
Orting had three regional champions in the first six weight classes: freshman Alex Cruz (106), sophomore Ben Gore (132) and senior Fred Green (138), a three-time state champion who pinned teammate Rex Dunn in the final at 2 minutes, 28 seconds. Earlier, Dunn’s 5-second semifinal pin created a buzz.
Kenny Marll (220) was close to becoming a regional champion, but a last-second takedown by Washington’s David Camacho with 3 seconds to go in the third round broke a 1-1 tie.
“I knew I had to finish it,” Camacho said.
A week after placing third at the 2A SPSL subdistricts, the regional title even surprised Camacho.
“I thought I was going to do (well) ... I didn’t think first place,” he said.
He joined teammates Jacob Nelson (182) and Kitrell Willingham (195) as regional champions.
Host River Ridge was a perfect 5 for 5 on the day, sending all five regional entries to the Mat Classic. All four wrestlers who made the regional finals finished second: Pyboon Krongmuang (132 pounds), Gabe Fraser (160), Jacob Zocco (170) and Blayne Haderman (195).