High School Sports

Yelm’s Darren Harris sets state career pin record

Darren Harris is Washington’s king of pins.

The two-time state wrestling champion did Saturday what he has done so often in his Yelm singlet the past four years — pinned his way to a title. But his pin against Josiah Mayo in the semifinals of the Class 4A Narrows sub-regional was a bit more significant, as it moved him past Tumwater graduate Easton Hargrave for most career pins in state history at 106.

Harris added one more in the 126-pound championship against Olympia’s Layn Pannkuk at Foss High School for career pin 107. This after setting the single-season record last year with 34 pins in 35 matches.

“My thing was all about the season pin record. Then I found out there was a state career record,” Harris said. “So I was like, ‘I’m going for it.’ ”

Harris cruised to the sub-regional championship match before pinning Pannkuk in 2 minutes, 25 seconds for the title. He also helped Yelm win the team title with 365.5 points. South Kitsap was second at 288 and Bellarmine Prep third at 131.5.

“He’s an exceptional kid,” Yelm coach Gaylord Strand said. “I just feel very privileged to be able to coach a kid like that. Having coached for 40 years, I’ve seen a lot of good athletes come through the system and you just have to cherish them.”

Harris improved to 22-0 with the pair of pins.

But he’s approached this season a little differently. Last year his mindset was solely focused on pins. He wanted one in every match, and almost did until No. 35 when he beat Central Valley’s Bryson Beard, 5-0, in the 120-pound Class 4A state championship match.

He said he won his first match this season, but not by pin — one of three matches this season he hasn’t pinned his opponent. But Harris said it only took the pressure off of him.

“I was trying to go for all pins last year, but after not getting that first pin, after that it was just, ‘Focus on winning the match,’ ” Harris said.

And it might have made him an even better wrestler.

“He’s having more fun,” Strand said. “The pressure is off. Everybody expects him to pin and he hasn’t pinned three this year. I told him, ‘Don’t worry about it. Go out there and have a good time.’

“He hates losing and he’s a student of his craft. He’s always studying and learning new things, trying out new stuff.”

And Harris still has the regional and state meets to increase his now record pin total and win this third state title — he placed second in the 113-pound finals in 2013 after winning the 103 finals as a freshman.

“I just do what I do, just wrestle,” Harris said. “Now the goal is to extend it (the record). Make sure it doesn’t get beaten.”

Yelm also got finals wins Saturday from Mason Harrison at 106, Thomas Munoz at 120, Jacob Rash at 132, Ryley Hallman at 152, Bo Campbell at 170 (over teammate Greg Bowers) and Holden Miller at 220.

Olympia’s Logan Pine, who placed fifth in the 138-pound state championships last year, earned a hard-fought 8-2 decision against Yelm’s Tanner Page at 138. Pine said they have known each other since they were 5 years old.

“It was just a scramble,” Pine said. “He pretty much knew my moves and I knew his.”

3A NARROWS

Just don’t play around. This is serious.

That’s what Lincoln’s B.J. Hawthorne said he told himself before facing teammate William Willsey in the 220-pound finals at the Class 3A Narrows sub-regional tournament at Foss.

Some smiles cracked, but Hawthorne brought it at the end, pinning Willsey in 5:22. It was a win for both, though, as each advanced to the 3A Region 3 Tournament. And Lincoln cruised to a win with 300.5 points to Shelton’s 261.5. Wilson was third with 246 points and Central Kitsap fourth with 232.5.

“We don’t get to practice with each other. We had to stay on our A-game,” said Hawthorne, who signed to play football at Washington State University on Wednesday. “It could have gone either way.”

Both are coming off state appearances, with Hawthorne placing fifth in the 182-pound class at the 3A state championships last year.

“(Hawthorne’s) got a really good shot, and I just tried to focus on defending against that,” Willsey said. “But I also have to do well on the offensive end.”

Lincoln also got titles Saturday from Jeremiah Sandoval at 120, Loren Carillo at 138 and Jeremy Lukosh at 195.

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