While it is easy to get lost amidst the 24 wrestling mats and huge wrestling field at the Mat Classic, several local competitors had solid outings for their various squads at the state tournament at the Tacoma Dome on Feb. 17-18.
Wilson's Jake Ferris – a returning state wrestler – came out strong on Feb. 17, pinning Eastside Catholic's Joe Stoutt late in the first round on his way to advancing to the 3A 195-pound finals.
"I was nervous at first because last year I did really badly," said Ferris, a junior. "This year, I was nervous but I just realized it's another tournament, I've got to do what I do…he's a great wrestler, but I was the better one today."
Ferris won decisions over Shadle Park's Cameron Babcock and Meadowdale's Ciaran Ball before falling in the finals to Bishop Blanchet's Peter Johnson to take second. Wilson teammates Jake Evens and Elijah Rowley each competed in the 170-pound bracket but fell in their first two matches to be eliminated.
Foss' Andrew Hahn – who won the 106-pound bracket at the city championships – charged out of the gates with a 7-0 victory over Mercer Island's Luke Wilson before edging University's Kwest Osborn 7-6 in the second round.
"I didn't have the best tournament last weekend and I made it my goal to come back and wrestle how I know how to wrestle," Hahn said. "I expect to win. That's what I've done all season, and it shouldn't stop here, it's just another tournament – just in a bigger place."
Hahn fell to eventual champ Darren Harris, of Yelm, but beat Wilson again before falling to Eastmont's Fabian Wickam to settle for fourth place.
Bellarmine's Taylor Ladenburg – the Lions' lone representative – got off to a good start in the 4A 160-pound bracket, defeating Eisenhower's Humberto Acevedo 8-4.
"I feel like I've definitely improved on a lot of things, including my leg drive which is my main move," said Ladenburg. "This match also helped me realize where I still need to improve."
Ladenburg fell later in the day to Snohomish's Ammon Morrill before being eliminated by Puyallup's Tomas Scholl in the consolation bracket.
Tacoma Baptist – which fielded a team of just six wrestlers this season – had three participants in the 2B, headlined by Kyle Delegard. The Crusaders' senior started with a 16-6 victory over Liberty Bell's Jonathan McMillan, taking advantage of several takedowns to boost his point total.
"I got the first takedown, and if you get the first takedown you have a better shot at winning it," Delegard said. "I just kept telling myself that and kept strong. He was really strong, he's a good wrestler. I just had to use technique against him."
Delegard fell 6-0 to Reardon's Charlie Eldred, but rebounded with a 10-5 win over Slaymaker's Ryan Smith to reach the consolation finals. McMillan won 8-4 in the rematch on Feb. 17, though, as Delegard settled for fourth place.