High School Sports

High school wrestling primer: The top wrestlers, teams and storylines to watch in 2017-18

Aizayah Yacapin of Curtis, right, started the Vikings' march to a resounding team title with an eventual pin of Graham-Kapowsin's Noah Cortez in the 106-pound weight class. Photo taken at the 4A regional wrestling championships at Curtis High in University Place on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017.
Aizayah Yacapin of Curtis, right, started the Vikings' march to a resounding team title with an eventual pin of Graham-Kapowsin's Noah Cortez in the 106-pound weight class. Photo taken at the 4A regional wrestling championships at Curtis High in University Place on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017. dperine@thenewstribune.com

HIGH SCHOOL BOYS WRESTLING PRIMER

TEAM TO WATCH

How good life must be for Bonney Lake coach Dan Pitsch. The former Spanaway Lake standout and Oregon State wrestler has his defending state champion Panthers back looking to duplicate what Enumclaw did in the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons by winning back-to-back 3A state team titles. And he’s got three-time champion Brandon Kaylor, an Oregon State signee, back, as well as defending champions Sam Peterson and Brenden Chaowanapibool. And watch out for this freshman, Yusief Lillie, who won the Cadet (16-U) Greco-Roman title in the 100-pound weight class in Fargo, North Dakota, this summer.

TOP STORYLINES

On the rise

Watch out for these schools east of the Mountains, like Chiawana and Moses Lake, as well as perennial contender Lake Stevens, but maybe this could be the 4A SPSL’s year to have a state team champion – for the first time. South Kitsap and Curtis both entered the season loaded, with South Kitsap returning Mason Eaglin (a former Graham-Kapowsin wrestler) and Sebastian Robles and Curtis brining back standout sophomores Aizayah Yacapin and Ryan Wheeler to go with Vashon Island transfer Adrian St. Germain, a two-time state champion.

PCL powers

Few leagues were as stacked and competitive as the Pierce County League a season ago, with Bonney Lake going on to win the state title, Lincoln finishing seventh (their highest finish since 1997) and Bethel in eighth. But how will Lincoln bounce back without coach Greg Ford, the former River Ridge state champion who was fired in the spring for giving wrestlers rides home. Lincoln alum Willie Ross has since taken over.

2A SPSL supremacy

Orting and White River gave Toppenish all it could handle in the 2A team title chase last year. But just look at all White River has back – including reigning 152-pound champion Nate Moore and five other wrestlers who placed in the top four last year (even Mason Sabin, a transfer from Bonney Lake). Not that Orting shouldn’t be back contending, led by Virginia signee Alex Cruz, a three-time state champion.

FIVE WRESTLERS TO WATCH

Brandon Kaylor BOnney Lake
Bonney Lake's Brandon Kaylor wrestles Mt. Spokane's Blake Haney in the 3A 113 pound championship match at Mat Classic XXIX at the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Wash., on Saturday, February 18, 2017. Joshua Bessex jbessex@gateline.com

NAME

SCHOOL

YEAR

WEIGHT CLASS

Alex Cruz

Orting

Senior

138

The Virginia signee won the 106- and 113-pound titles as a freshman and sophomore, but now also has a 126-pound title. How about 138 this year?

Brandon Kaylor

Bonney Lake

Senior

120

Only 15 other boys wrestlers have finished their careers with four state titles. Kaylor, an Oregon State signee, hoping to join that club.

Adrian St. Germain

Curtis

Junior

160

Dominant 1A wrestler at Vashon Island. Now he’s in 4A wrestling for Curtis with a pair of state titles in tow.

Kione Gill

Tahoma

Senior

220

Has reached the semifinals three consecutive years, and last year got his first title with a title pin in 1 minute, 37 seconds.

JJ Dixon

Lincoln

Senior

195

Last season, Dixon became the Abes’ first individual state champion since K.C. Walsh in 2002, winning the 182-pound title in his first year from Decatur.

RETURNING STATE CHAMPIONS

JJ Dixon Lincoln
Lincoln's J.J. Dixon flips after defeating Meadowdale's Liam Ball in the 3A 182 pound championship match at Mat Classic XXIX at the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Wash., on Saturday, February 18, 2017. Joshua Bessex jbessex@gateline.com

4A – Kione Gill, Tahoma, sr. (220); Adrian St. Germain, Curtis, jr. (152 1A title, 145 1A title)

3A – Brenden Chaowanapibool, Bonney Lake, jr. (106); JJ Dixon, Lincoln, sr. (182); Brandon Kaylor, Bonney Lake, sr. (113, 106, 106); Sam Peterson, Bonney Lake, sr. (220)

2A – Alex Cruz, Orting, sr. (126, 113, 106); Nate Moore, White River, jr. (152); Cy Hicks, Tumwater, sr. (285)

RETURNING STATE PLACERS

Kione Gill Tahoma
Tahoma's Kione Gill pins Kennedy Catholic's Bowen McConville in the 4A 195 pound championship match at Mat Classic XXIX at the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Wash., on Saturday, February 18, 2017. Joshua Bessex jbessex@gateline.com

4A – Jaden Cassel, Auburn Riverside, so. (seventh in 106); Isaac Clark, Puyallup, so. (sixth in 160); Mason Eaglin, South Kitsap, sr., (third in 170); Ketner Fields, Curtis, sr. (second in 160); Devin Gentz, South Kitsap, sr. (sixth in 120); Cameron Hanson, Tahoma, sr. (seventh in 126); Nathan Marin, South Kitsap, sr. (third in 160); Nolan Martinez, Puyallup, sr. (fifth in 152); Bowen McConville, Kennedy Catholic, ,sr. (second in 195); Austin Michalski, Tahoma, jr. (second in 113); Jabril Muhammad, Kentwood, jr. (eighth in 106); Devin Neal, Curtis, jr. (seventh in 145); Yusef Nelson, Auburn Riverside, jr. (seventh in 113); Marcus Peterson, Sumner, jr. (eighth in 132); Luke Purcella, Curtis, jr. (seventh in 220); CJ Richmond, Sumner, jr. (second in 126); Sebastian Robles, South Kitsap, sr. (second in 145); Kalel Salcedo, Sumner, sr. (fifth in 113); Quinzy Salu, Decatur, sr. (second in 285); Dylan Sanders, Rogers, sr. (eighth in 182); Jeramias Sandoval, Curtis, sr. (fourth in 126, in 3A); Chad Simonson, Graham-Kapowsin, sr. (sixth in 145); Quinton Southcott, Enumclaw, sr. (fourth in 145); Cole Washburn, Auburn, sr. (third in 182); Ryan Wheeler, Curtis, so. (third in 113); Aizayah Yacapin, Curtis, so. (third in 106)

3A – Brock Allen, Peninsula, so. (eighth in 106); Zayne Ball, Gig Harbor, jr. (sixth in 160); John Bittinger, Gig Harbor, sr. (seventh in 152); Kai Burgman, North Thurston, jr. (eighth in 220); Ethan Calapp, Bethel, sr. (third in 220); Coty Chabot, Bethel, jr. (sixth in 106); Elijah Suncombe, Lincoln, sr. (seventh in 132); Jeremiah Duncombe, Lincoln, so. (eighth in 113); Boira Mokmouen, Lincoln, jr. (fifth in 106); Derrick Platt, Yelm, jr. (third in 182); Skylor Mottner, Yelm, sr. (seventh in 285); Steven Reyes, Yelm, jr. (second in 126); Gavin Stewart, Yelm, sr. (fifth in 113); Devyn Sweem, Bethel, sr. (sixth in 126); Xavier Whitson, Lincoln, sr. (eighth in 195);

2A – Evan Barger, Orting, sr. (fourth in 220); Joshua Camacho, Washington, jr. (eighth in 132); Chrys Cenkush, Orting, sr. (sixth in 120); Jack Ervien, White River, jr. (seventh in 160); Jacob Flores, Orting, sr. (fourth in 113); Darius Gilchrist, Orting, sr. (eighth in 182); Gabe Hawthorne, White River, so. (fourth in 113); Caden Hicks, Tumwater, jr. (sixth in 220); Jordan Lapointe, Franklin Pierce, sr. (fourth in 170); Weston Lyver, White River, so. (third in 138); Johnny McBride, White River, jr. (seventh in 152); Ryan Redford, White River, White River (second in 170); Mason Sabin, White River, sr. (second in 145, 3A); Max Wheeler, White River, jr. (second in 120)

1A – Luke Larson, Vashon Island, sr. (sixth in 126)

2B/1B – Ezra Miller, Life Christian, sr. (sixth in 195)

MARK THE CALENDAR

State wrestling championships – Feb. 17-18, Tacoma Dome

HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS WRESTLING PRIMER

TEAM TO WATCH

Jasmine Parker-Borrero
Wilson's Jasmine Parker-Borrero celebrates after defeating Yelm's Ariana Zenke in the girls 145 pound championship match at Mat Classic XXIX at the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Wash., on Saturday, February 18, 2017. Joshua Bessex jbessex@gateline.com

Yelm might have all these standout wrestlers back for another year after winning the state team title a year ago, but Federal Way has plenty back two after finishing as the state runner up. Federal Way won its league and regional championships and then Mariah Stewart went on to finish second in the 235-pound weight class. No state-champion Tally Thomas, she’s at Stanford as a softball player now, but the Eagles also return Anjilia Sumandig, a junior who placed fourth in the 110-pound weight class a year ago.

FIVE WRESTLERS TO WATCH

NAME

SCHOOL

YEAR

WEIGHT CLASS

Jasmine Parker-Borrero

Lakes

Senior

145

She and Davis’ Cameron Guerin are hoping to end high school careers as four-time state champions. Only three other girls wrestlers in state history have done that.

Dreakeanna Adair

Bonney Lake

Senior

235

State shot put and discus champion in track and field, oh and a defending state wrestling champion.

Mariah Stewart

Federal Way

Senior

235

Lost to Washougal’s Abby Lees in the 235-pound title match a year ago. But Lees graduated and Stewart is back.

Raisa Pleasants

Thomas Jefferson

Junior

110

Sister is since-graduated two-time state champion Jasmine Pleasants. Raisa has placed third in back-to-back seasons. “She is now our leader,” Jefferson coach Jeff Muraki said.

Carly Smith

Yelm

Sophomore

125

What a freshman season. Only loss last year came in the 125-pound title match against TNT Untouchable member Brenda Reyna of Mt. Vernon.

RETURNING STATE CHAMPIONS

Dreakeanna Adair
Dreakeanna Adair warms up during wrestling practice at Bonney Lake High School in Bonney Lake, Wash., on Tuesday, November 16, 2016. Joshua Bessex jbessex@gateline.com

145: Jasmine Parker Borrero, Wilson, sr.

190: Dreakeanna Adair, Bonney Lake, sr.

RETURNING STATE PLACERS

Kenzie Cormier, Enumclaw, so. (second in 100); Amanda Henderson, Federal Way, sr. (sixth in 100); Alexandra Puzon, Enumclaw, sr. (seventh in 100); Raisa Pleasants, Thomas Jefferson, jr. (third in 105); Anabella Garcia, Federal Way, sr. (eighth in 105); Saisha Morales, Steilacoom, so. (third in 110); Anjilia Sumadig, Federal Way, jr. (fourth in 110); Phoenix Dubose, Yelm, jr. (second in 115); Brooklyn Cutler, Yelm, so. (fifth in 115); Jamayia Blackston, Lincoln, sr. (seventh in 115); Payton Stroud, White River (seventh in 120); Carly Smith, Yelm, so. (second in 125); Nia Lawes, Bonney Lake, sr. (seventh in 125); Nicole Clark, Sumner, sr. (third in 135); Selena Garza, Curtis, jr. (seventh in 135); Chelsey Rochester, Yelm, eighth in 135); Kathleen Flanagan, Wilson, sr. (fourth in 155); Giuliana Pepe, Mount Rainier, sr. (seventh in 155); Quinn Lacy, Shelton, jr. (third in 170); Mecca Chase, Lincoln, sr. (seventh in 190); Mariah Stewart, Federal Way, sr. (second in 235)

MARK THE CALENDAR

State wrestling championships – Feb. 17-18, Tacoma Dome

TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677

Twitter: @TJCotterill

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