Six Blaine wrestlers earned top awards at the Washington State Mat Classic tournament in Tacoma last week. Photo by Kathy Davidson-Nix
The Blaine High School Wrestling team qualified six wrestlers for the state tournament held in the Tacoma Dome on February 18 and 19. The Washington State Mat Classic XXIII Championship featured boys’ wrestling from 4A, 3A, 2A, 1A and 1B/2B, and girls’ wrestling from all levels (the girls were combined into one tournament).
In the two-day event, more than 1,000 boys represented nearly 250 high schools from across the state. The 200 plus girls represented nearly 100 schools.
On Friday and Saturday, more than 2,000 matches were wrestled.
The annual Mat Classic is the premiere-wrestling event in the state of Washington. Fans flock to the Dome to watch the state’s best compete. As a wrestler, just making it to state is a feat in itself.
Representing Blaine wrestling this year were Christian Sharp (9th grade at 112 pounds), Kelton Nix (12th grade at 125 pounds), Tony Jordan (12th at 130 pounds), Shaypher Hendricks (11th grade at 135), Caleb Johnson (10th grade at 189 pounds) and Michael Antczak (9th grade at 285 pounds). Blaine also sent two alternates: Kyle Gonzales (9th grade at 103 pounds) and Michael Macauley (11th grade at 171 pounds).
Coach Foster stated that neither of the alternates wrestled, but still the experience was valuable for them because the state tournament is such a daunting event for inexperienced wrestlers.
“Next year when they compete at state, they will know what to expect,” he said.
Foster said for wrestlers, the Mat Classic is a grueling two days, in which stamina plays a key role. When the last match is whistled, only the toughest are left standing. Nix and Hendricks were the toughest for Blaine.
Both wrestlers were among the top eight in the state. Nix placed 8th at 125 and Hendricks placed 8th at 135.
Kelton Nix said that his goal was first to get to state and secondly to medal. He accomplished both.
“That medal is going to hang in a prime spot in my room. It was hard to get; I’m very happy. I couldn’t have done it without my teammates and coaches. They’re the greatest.”
Nix said that the keys to his success were his “not-so-secret” move, “The Italian Necktie,” and his workout routine of running, ropes, push ups, dips, and pull ups. Also, Nix said he “celebrated by eating a ‘four-pound orange,’” which he said was an inside joke on the team.