13 Viking wrestlers to stateBY DAVE JEDLICKA | CONTRIBUTING WRITER The Lake Stevens Viking wrestlers are on a mission to return to the top podium at the Mat Classic this year. They set themselves up for that strong possibility with a dominant performance at the Region 1 Championships held Saturday at the Snohomish High School gym.
The Vikings are used to success and it has been three years is the State Championship event held annually at the Tacoma Dome.
In 2005 they finished in 2nd place behind University HS (Spokane) and last year slipped to 3rd behind Battle Ground and Auburn. However this year the team, as well as the state’s coaches expect Lake Stevens to win it all. The Vikings are ranked as the #1 4A team in the latest WIAA coaches’ poll.
Vikings Zach Zweifel - 103 lbs., Kelly Kubec - 130 lbs., Josh Monson - 135 lbs., and Mitch Tipton - 140 lbs. brought home Regional Championship titles.
Other Viking wrestlers who will be going to Mat Classic are: Jack Stillwell - 2nd - 103 lbs., Sean Anderson - 3rd - 119 lbs., Alex Pellegrini - 2nd - 125 lbs., Josh Eacrett - 3rd - 130 lbs., Brandon Austin - 3rd - 140 lbs., George King - 3rd - 145 lbs., Kyle Hughes - 4th - 160 lbs., Darren McGuire - 2nd - 189 lbs., and Blake Austin - 3rd - 215 lbs.
In addition BJ Alewine - 119 lbs. finished 5th and will be an alternate for next week’s event. Since four wrestlers that were supposed to participate in Saturday’s Regional tournament were held out because of the flu, there is a real possibility that Alewine may end up wrestling.
As a team, the Vikings finished with 238.5 points. This was 112 points ahead of their closest competitor, Snohomish HS. Heritage HS finished 3rd, just 1/2 a point behind Snohomish.
The Vikings are taking 13 wrestlers to the Dome, which is six more than they had last year on the way to the 3rd place finish. The team is confident that with so many participants they stand a much greater opportunity to win it all. Their competition will be a little different this year since many of the top 4A schools were reclassified to 3A. The three programs that also have a shot at the title will be University (Spokane), Pasco and Moses Lake, all of who have a lot of wrestlers coming to state as well.
The 19th Annual Mat Classic begins at the Tacoma Dome at 10 am on Friday and will continue on Saturday. The school and team welcome the community to come out and support their drive towards another state championship.
An additional note, Coach Brent Barnes received another deserving accolade on Saturday when he was named the Regional Coach of the Year.