If you weren’t really expecting Enumclaw High School to be anywhere near the chase for a Class 3A state wrestling team title Saturday night, well, for a good portion of the season, neither did the Hornets.
They were not the 3A SPSL dual-meet champions — Sumner was. And they were not the 3A SPSL sub-regional champions — Auburn was.
But in the final two weeks of the postseason, no 3A school was better than Enumclaw — including at Mat Classic 27 in the Tacoma Dome.
By the time teammates Hunter Haney and Jake Treece took the mat for an all-Enumclaw 126-pound championship final — Haney won by pin in 2 minutes, 57 seconds — the Hornets had the team title wrapped up.
It was their first 3A title since winning in back-to-back seasons (2011-12).
“At the beginning of the year, we were unsure where we’d end up,” Haney said. “But going to regionals and taking first (place), we knew we could come here and take it all.”
Defending 3A champion North Central of Spokane was the heavy favorite coming into the weekend, but had only brothers Clai (113) and Izaec Quintanilla (160) reach the finals. The brothers won their respective weight divisions.
“I give Enumclaw a lot of credit,” North Central coach Luke Leifer said. “They stepped up. They had a great back-door bracket. They definitely earned it.”
Other key developments:
• Nobody said winning a first state title was easy, especially for a ninth grader. But the relentless work rate of Bonney Lake’s Brandon Kaylor finally wore down Kamiakin’s Riley Gurr, in the 3A 106 finals in overtime, 9-7.
Kaylor trailed late, but kept stalking a retreating Gurr. With 4.7 seconds remaining, Gurr was called for stalling, giving the Panthers’ freshman a point to tie the match, 7-7.
In overtime, Kaylor got the winning takedown with 31.9 seconds to go.
“I train for moments like that,” Kaylor said. “I knew it was going to be hard, so I just wanted to battle him.”
• Auburn’s Sam Lindsey knows a well-deserved assist for his 182 title in 3A belongs to a pair of rivals in the SPSL.
One of them is Enumclaw’s Kione Gill. The other was the guy he beat in the finals, 2-0 — Peninsula’s Luke Holsinger.
Before winning last week’s regional tournament, Lindsey had never beaten either one of his league opponents.
“I lost to both of them twice before I ever beat one of them,” Lindsey said. “It made me not want to lose even more.”
Teammate Mario Luevano held off Meadowdale’s Tim Smith, 2-1, in three overtimes to win the 220 title.
• Now Orting heavyweight Hunter Mullins has something to hold over his high-profile neighbor, UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson — a state wrestling championship.
Mullins blanked Port Angeles’ Roberto Coronel, 6-0, to win the 285 crown in 2A.
Johnson is a former state wrestler from Washington High School who finished third and second at state.
“I don’t know about (rubbing it in),” a laughing Mullins said. “I want him to like me.”
• Two years ago, Vashon’s Chase Wickman’s run at a first 1A title was ended by Forks’ Sebastian Morales. Last season, Wickman edged Morales in the semifinals en route to winning his first state championship.
And this year in the 113 finals, it was no contest. Wickman got the fall in 3:24 over Morales.
“I have totally grown up, not just wresting-wise, but I have a better mentality in wanting to go after guys like him,” Wickman said. “My philosophy was to take him (down), let him up, break his soul — and pin him.”
• In the girls tournament, Puyallup junior Jordyn Bartelson has a chance to win four state titles. She edged Mount Baker’s Natalie Smith, 5-3, to defend her 120 title.
“The goal is still the same — winning four (titles),” Bartelson said. “Right now all I want to think about is getting something to eat with my sister.”