By Oliver Lazenby
Blaine wrestler Saul Magallon’s athletic style took him to the top at the Mat Classic last weekend in Tacoma, where he walked away as the state champion in the 220-pound weight class.
Magallon had a couple of close matches on the way to the finals match, where he faced off with top-ranked Blayne Haderman of River Ridge High School. Last year, Haderman placed fourth at 220 pounds, while Magallon placed sixth at 195.
Both wrestlers started the match conservatively and were tied 1–1 midway through the third period.
“Neither guy wanted to make a mistake and they knew their opponent was there for a reason,” said Blaine head coach Colt Warren.
Magallon took McDonald to the mat and held him for the final 20 seconds in a takedown called a “snap-down go-behind,” scoring two points for a 3–1 victory.
Magallon is an especially quick and athletic wrestler for his size. Warren said they considered moving him down to the 195-pound weight class, but kept him at 220 partly to leverage his athleticism – a strategy that paid off.
“He’s hands down the most athletic 220 pounder,” Warren said. “Once you get up there, to have a guy with Saul’s attributes is not very common. It served him really well.”
Blaine wrestlers earned an eighth place team score out of 67 teams, making Blaine the highest-placing team from its conference, the Class 2A Northwest Conference. Toppenish won the team title in the 2A class.
Two other Borderites placed in the tournament; Colton Economy got third place at 132 pounds and Riley Fritsch took fifth place at 170.
Economy lost the semifinals match to East Valley’s Randy McDonald, a long and lanky wrestler, in a 6–4 decision. Economy dominated the third place match against Cesar Brizuela from Wapato, but didn’t secure a victory until the final seconds.
“He got a crucial pin with 10 seconds left,” Warren said.
Fritsch, who placed fourth in state at 160 pounds last year, suffered a couple of close losses before beating Cole Spencer from Ephrata in a 9–4 decision in the fifth place match.
“That wasn’t the finish Fritsch wanted, but he’s been held back from practicing in the last three weeks due to nagging injuries,” Warren said.
Economy and Fritsch are seniors, but Magallon is a junior and will be returning to Blaine’s wrestling program.
“He’s what every coach wants in a leader and I’m super excited to see what he can do both as an individual and a team leader next year,” Warren said. “He’s going to be phenomenal.”
Photos by Jasmine Fritsch