It was the underclassmen who showed up Saturday afternoon at the 2015 Wilfong Classic as four local wrestlers were able to reach the finals inside Puyallup High’s gym.
Youth was served at the Wilfong Classic, leaving a lasting impression on all — including the man the tournament was named after.
“It’s nice to have it at Puyallup wrestling’s home,and it’s good for the future, too,” George Wilfong said. “It’s kind of new seeing freshman wrestle … that’s kind of nice.”
And it was the younger guys from the local scene making it to the finals, with Puyallup’s Josh Franich the only local to walk away with the championship.
“I don’t know, I just kept on going and going in. I just take my time — I don’t worry about the clock,” Franich said.
Heading into the 138-pound finals, Franich was in a serene place as he paced back and forth before his finals meeting with Bellarmine Prep’s Josiah Mayo.
That calmness never escaped the Viking champion as he went from move to move, counter to counter as he built up momentum into a pin fall at 4 minutes, 38 seconds, for the championship.
“I work every move and I keep going and going,” Franich said. “If I slip off, I go to the other side. With my arm bar, I couldn’t get the right (side), so I switched him left and I got him on his back.”
Both Braden Goucher and Jason Walker joined Franich in the finals for the Vikings. Goucher took a hard loss to Orting’s Hunter Behnke (10-2, 106 pounds), and Walker fell to Mariner’s Levi Weaver (12-6, 126 pounds) in their finals matches.
“He got (me with) the leg ride, and I couldn’t get the leg ride out,” Goucher admitted. “(The loss) is going to push me with my defense of the leg ride, and to beat him going forward.”
Multiple times during his finals match, Goucher tried to take Behnke’s legs out to sweep the Cardinal into a pin. But Behnke was too quick, picking up counter points to build his lead. In the end, Behnke held off Goucher for the championship victory.
A few mechanical issues caused Walker’s loss as the he just wasn’t able to get low enough to win.
“The coaches were telling me to get low to him, but I just didn’t do it,” Walker said. “I’ll need to work on my shots and getting low going forward.”
Emerald Ridge High junior Logan Swank joined the Puyallup trio in the finals as the Jaguar finished second to Orting’s Chrys Cenkush (15-6) in the 120- pound finals.
“I feel like in my matches I was always pressing,” Swank admitted. “When you’re down by so many points, you feel like the third period is crucial.”
Cenkush had a significant lead heading into the third period, which led to Swank pressing. But the junior fought back to cut the lead to 10-6 before Cenkush finished off the match with the win.
“I wouldn’t say I’m satisfied unless I’m standing there first on the podium,” Swank said. “But I think with my performance today, I did the best I could.”