TACOMA — The dream of a state title is still alive for eight Grays Harbor wrestlers as the second day of the Mat Classic state wrestling tournament begins Saturday.
After winning individual state titles last year, Montesano seniors Austin Cain (160) and Taylor Rupe (285) each worked their way through to semifinals and helped the Bulldogs land in sixth place in the 1A team standings with 48 1/2 points. Granger leads the 1A with 114 points.
Montesano’s Jacob Ellefson (120), Elma’s Justin Sample (138) and Hoquiam’s Artimus Johnson (182) round out the list of semifinalists in the 1A tournament.
Aberdeen’s Tyler Souphommanichanh (126) won a close second match to be the only Grays Harbor wrestler in the 2A semifinals, while North Beach’s Seth Bridge (285) was able to get two wins and be the only Grays Harbor wrestler left in the 2B semifinals.
Hoquiam’s Jenna Doll earned a first-round pin and a decision to claim a spot in the 155-pound girls semifinals on Saturday.
Cain needed less than a minute to notch a pin in the first round and he came away with a 10-2 win over Tyson Sundust of Omak in the second round.
“(Austin) is wrestling so technically well and he is the guy to beat at 160,” Montesano coach Jeff Klinger said.”
While Cain made quick work in his matches, Rupe struggled a bit in the second match after injuring his knee in the second period. Rupe stayed tough and was able to edge his way past Sawyer Hughes of Colville, 5-3.
“We knew it was going to be a tough match,” Klinger said. “Taylor was able to escape and his knee turned awkwardly. He toughed it out and came through with a victory. Hopefully he is feeling good tomorrow and can continue to battle through it.”
Ellefson has finished second and third in the last two seasons, but the senior was focused on a title bid on Friday. Ellefson dominated his first match to the tune of a 17-3 tech fall and controlled his second round bout against Logan Holt of Freeman, winning 5-0.
“Jacob just wrestled solid and we are looking forward to tomorrow,” Klinger said. “He is wrestling really well right now and his weight is great. He is on a mission to win it.”
While Sample battled his way to two decisions, Johnson spent less than two minutes wrestling on the day. The Hoquiam senior earned pins in 37 and 46 seconds.
Souphommanichanh came out strong in the first round and pinned his opponent with one second left in the first period. The second round bout would not be as easy for the Aberdeen junior. Souphommanichanh earned a takedown in the first round to grab control of the match against Selah’s Aj Au and stayed in command throughout. The junior got a reversal in the second and was able to ride out Au to a 4-3 victory.
“(Tyler) wrestled a strong match,” Aberdeen coach Jimmy Martin said. “He is embracing challenges and having fun while doing it.”
Bridge notched pins in the second and third rounds to find himself two wins from a state crown.
In the girls tournament, Doll remains the last hope for a champion from Grays Harbor. The senior earned a pin in the first period during the first round and came away with a 12-7 win over Hazen’s Raven Svenson in the second round.
The only other two Grays Harbor competitors who were able to fight through the consolation bracket into Saturday will face off at 235 when Aberdeen’s Emily Wharton faces North Beach’s Natasha Fruh.
Plenty of hardware will be toted back to the Twin Harbors on Saturday as 11 wrestlers stayed alive in the 1B/2B consolation brackets and four individuals wrestled back through the 1A consolations to secure a medal. North Beach’s Brenden Chaney (170), Ocosta’s Kaleb Orton (120), Daniel Quinby (126), Matthew Hart (152) and Kalvyn Scott (160), Raymond’s Tristan Hamlin (126), Jack Jordan (138), Jace Duckworth (145), Christian Anderson (220) and South Bend’s Joseph Lewis (132) and Ben Byington (160) will try to wrestle through to a third place finish.
Elma’s Colten French and Montesano’s Andy Fry (106), Tyler Izatt (132) and Tony Williams (138) round out the list of Grays Harbor competitors in the consolation bracket after Friday.