Some wrestlers are good, others are great. Then there are the “Untouchables.”
These are the most unbeatable high school wrestlers from around the state, which The News Tribune has published annually before the state wrestling championships for more than 30 years running.
This year’s class includes eight wrestlers (six boys, two girls). Three are hoping to join the state’s fraternity of four-time state champions (Orting’s Alex Cruz, Bonney Lake’s Brandon Kaylor and Lakes’ Flor “Jasmine” Parker-Borrero).
THE NEWS TRIBUNE’S 2017-18 UNTOUCHABLES
TRENT BAUN (126)
Colville (1A), junior, 42-3 (111-11 career)
As a member of one of the best small-school wrestling families in state history, this middle-child Baun is the first to crack the “Untouchables” list. And unlike his brother, TJ, who was an aggressive, offensive-minded two-time 1A champion now at the Naval Academy, Baun is more of a strategist. “He is really methodical and controlled ... more of a grinder,” Colville coach Randy Cloke said. Baun is vying to become school’s first three-time state champion.
ALEX CRUZ (138)
Orting (2A), senior, 42-1 (155-12 career)
Don’t blink, because you night not catch the lightning-quick Cruz’s dazzling moves. The Virginia signee is a sight to behold on the mat. “He can walk on his hands, do splits,” Orting coach Jody Coleman said. “His athleticism is up there with anybody I’ve ever coached.” Cruz is trying to join Drew Templeman (2009-2012) and Fred Green (2012-15) as the school’s four-time state champions, most of any program in state history. He is currently ranked 16th in the country at this weight by FloWrestling.
JJ DIXON (195)
Lincoln (3A), senior, 37-0 (136-11 career)
He was good last year. State-champion good. But Lincoln coach Willie Ross has seen Dixon push himself “10 times harder” this season. The result is a perfect record, 17 pins and 20 tech falls. There’s a reason he’s so often compared for former Lincoln great K.C. Walsh, a TNT Untouchable in 2001 and a two-time state 215-pound champion. Dixon could be the first from a city-school since Walsh to win back-to-back titles. “He has no quit,” said Lincoln coach Willie Ross, who is Walsh’s former teammate. “He wants to be the dominant man on the mat and he is.”
KIONE GILL (220)
Tahoma (4A), senior, 38-0 (124-8 career)
If he gets his paws on you, you are toast. And after spending his first two seasons at Enumclaw, he has found a home with the Bears (70-1 total record). He won his first Class 4A title last season at 195. “His explosive first step and his flexibility for a big man is very uncommon,” Tahoma coach Chris Feist said. Last December, Gill won his second Tri-State crown. The University of Providence and North Idaho College have shown the most interest.
BRANDON KAYLOR (120)
Bonney Lake (3A), senior, 47-2 (170-6 career)
It doesn’t if the wrestling takes place on a mat or in the backyard — this Oregon State signee loves a good fight. “He just wants to kick your butt,” Bonney Lake coach Dan Pitsch said. “He gets up for every match with the same level of determination.” This two-time “Untouchables” member had a summer to remember in 2017, winning a pair of Pan-American titles, and a Greco-Roman title at 113 in Fargo, North Dakota. In January, he captured the Five Counties tournament title in California. Ranked 14th in the country at 120 by FloWrestling.
MASON PHILLIPS (145)
Stanwood (3A), senior, 36-0 (81-0 career)
How serious is this two-time “Untouchables” standout about wrestling? Last spring, this North Carolina signee spent six months training with two-time Olympic bronze medalist Justin Lester in Ohio. Phillips’ innate understanding of the sport is second to none. “He stays two or three moves ahead of people,” Stanwood coach Raymond Mather said. The two-time Greco-Roman national champion participated in the Cadet World Wrestling Championships in Greece last September. Ranked No. 2 in the nation, with his only loss this season (in a non-sanctioned WAA event) coming against No. 1-ranked Nebraska commit Brock Hardy of Utah.
CAMERON GUERIN (125)
Davis, senior, 29-0 (122-0 career)
We are seeing next-level greatness before our eyes. Just like Lakeside of Nine Mile Falls’ Dalton Young did a year ago, Guerin is vying to become just the second undefeated four-time state champion in state history. “It is about her consistency and her work ethic,” Davis girls coach Alexio Garcia said. Guerin is a stalwart with USA Wrestling, and last summer, the two-time “Untouchables” member qualified for the World Junior Championships in Finland. She is ranked second in the country at 117 pounds.
FLOR “JASMINE” PARKER-BORRERO (145)
Lakes, senior, 19-0 (89-1 career)
Few athletes look as fluid and graceful on the mat than this local judo standout, who is vying to become the second local girl to win four Mat Classic titles (Puyallup’s Jordyn Bartelson accomplished it in 2016) and just the fourth ever from the state. Parker-Borrero captured her first three state championships for Wilson High School, including the 145 title last season “She is a fearless wrestler. She never shows her nervousness or cracks under competition pressure,” Lakes girls coach Trisha Pak said. She trains in the same Lakewood dojo as local Olympian Travis Stevens.
FOUR-TIME STATE WRESTLING CHAMPIONS
Lakeside (9 Mile Falls)
* Orting’s Alex Cruz and Bonney Lake’s Brandon Kaylor enter Mat Classic this weekend with three state titles each in three seasons.
*Lakes’ Flor “Jasmine” Parker-Borrero enters Mat Classic this weekend with three state titles in three seasons