By Ian Ferguson
After two days packed with exciting matches and close calls, the Blaine wrestling team earned a respectable sixth place in the Mat Classic XXVIII state wrestling tournament.
The Borderites sent seven athletes to the state tournament in the Tacoma Dome February 19–20, and five of the seven wrestlers placed. Caleb Frey earned the second place medal at 152 pounds, and Anthony Frey took home the third place medal at 145. Derreck Camba (132) and Riley Fritsch (160) both earned fourth place, and Saul Magallon (195) finished in sixth place.
The ride to semi-finals had its ups and downs for Blaine, as a couple of matches were too close for the referees to call. In his second match Fritsch appeared to get a crucial takedown with two seconds to go, but wasn’t awarded the points until after a discussion between referees was escalated to the WIAA league officials. Fritsch was awarded the points and moved on to the next round, but a similarly close call in Magallon’s second match went the other way. With eight seconds to go, Magallon needed an escape to win. He appeared to escape briefly before his opponent regained control of his leg, but the officials didn’t see it that way. After a long discussion, the score was not changed and Magallon went on to wrestle in the fifth or sixth place determination round.
Wrestlers who made it through early rounds on day one faced a grueling road to finals on day two. Anthony Frey, who had lost to the eventual champion on day one, was undefeated on day two, going 3–0 and winning the third place match by a 6–4 decision.
Camba battled in an exciting match for third place against Sedro-Woolley’s Michael Leger. Camba led 3–1 going into the third period, then earned another point with an escape. Leger responded with a takedown and a near fall to gain a 5–4 lead. Camba battled hard for the reversal, but Leger hung on and added another fall for a final score of 8–4, with Camba taking fourth place.
In his second trip to the state final in two years, Caleb Frey lost a 7–3 decision against West Valley Spokane’s Drake Ferguson. His second place medal is consistent with his ranking as the number two wrestler in 2A statewide. Fristch won his first two matches in the medal rounds and lost a 6–3 decision to Logan Madison from Olympia.
Among teams from the Northwest Conference, Blaine had the best showing by far at the state tournament, earning 77 points for sixth place. Burlington-Edison placed 11th with 53 points, and Sedro-Woolley took 13th with 46 points. Toppenish, a high school in Yakima County, was the overall winner with 154 points.
Last year, the Borderites earned six individual medals and 9th place overall at the XXVII Mat Classic.