Blaine grapplers earn honors at Mat Classic

Published on Wed, Feb 24, 2010 by Ken Davidson

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The Borderite wrestling team placed eleventh at Mat Classic XXII, the all-classifications, girls and boys state tournament held at the Tacoma Dome on February  19 and 20. Six of the eight wrestlers who competed for top honors received medals.

Coach Craig Foster said, “Just to qualify for the state tournament is quite a feat. To place at this tournament as one of the top eight in the state is an accomplishment to be proud of.”  The eight wrestlers who made the trip were Shaypher Hendricks, 119; Tony Jordan, 125; Jamal Mallak, 130; Camden Nix, 140; AJ Pieczynski, 152; Shaffer Hicks, 189; Jeremy Holdaas, 215; and Joel Garza, 285.  The two-day tournament involved over 1,000 wrestlers facing off in thousands of matches. Coaches and wrestlers alike agree that the tournament requires stamina and peak performance, and only the toughest survive.

Jamal Mallak, AJ Pieczynski, Shaffer Hicks and Joel Garza all received eighth-place medals. Coach Foster emphasized that Mallak, Pieczynski, Hicks and Garza all played a significant role in the team’s point tally and final placing. “I’m proud of all of our wrestlers and their performance at state.”

Foster also praised two of his team captains who placed highest, “Camden and Jeremy both had great tournaments.”

“I’ll miss the seniors; I’ve watched many of them grow up wrestling, starting with Barracudas. This time of the year is also a little sad, but it’s time for the next phase in these young men’s lives.”

Camden Nix battled his way to the semi-finals where he met the future state champion from Chehalis high school. After his only loss, Nix dropped down into the consolations where he fought his way back defeating his remaining opponents and earning third.

The highest placer for Blaine this year and among the most talented, Jeremy Holdaas earned his way to the championship on Saturday night. He demonstrated at the state tournament and all year his ability as a skilled wrestler. Going into the tournament, he was favored to win the title but lost to Nick King.

In another championship played out in the classroom, two of the Blaine wrestlers showed that they were more than brawn. Camden Nix and AJ Pieczynski were both Coaches’ Academic Champions on the 2010 WSWCA All-State Wrestling Team. Nix lead the 140-pound class in GPA’s with his 3.88; Pieczynski tied one other wrestler in the 152-pound class with a perfect 4.0 GPA. Coach Jim Rasar said, “I knew we were tough; it turns out that we’re smart as well.”