There was never much drama in the team title race at this year’s Mat Classic. In the first round of the state tournament, the Lake Stevens wrestling team jumped to a 20 point lead, and they never looked back.
After the last match on the last day of wrestling, a victory by Lake Stevens’s Brandon Johnson for the heavyweight championship, the Vikings led Tahoma 162-120, taking home their fifth team title in seven years and scoring the second-most state points in team history.
Soler’s only loss this season was to Graham Kapowsin’s Ian Steen, another defending state champion. Soler beat Steen 8-4 at a tournament, but a week later was pinned by Steen at a dual meet. The rematch between Soler and Steen was one of the most anticipated matches of the night, and it lived up to expectations. Soler, trailing Steen 2-1 late in the third round, scored a reversal to take a 3-2 lead, and held on for the match’s closing seconds to win his second state title.
Along with their three champions, Lake Stevens had 6 other placers: at 106, freshman A.J. Crew took fourth, after losing in the semi-finals to the eventual runner-up. At 120, freshman Jake Douglas was pinned in the semi-finals while rolling over his own back to try to pin his opponent, but he came back to place fourth.
At 138 pounds, senior Jesse Peterson took fifth after a disappointing quarter-finals loss to the eventual runner-up. Peterson pinned his opponent in his fifth-sixth place match. Senior Blake Sanders won several close matches on his way to placing seventh at 160 pounds, including a late takedown in the seventh-eighth place match to secure the victory.
At 172 pounds, sophomore Cody Vigoren had the unfortunate luck of running into Mead’s Chandler Rogers in the semi-finals. Rogers, a junior, pinned all of his opponents, including Vigoren, on his way to winning his third state championship. Vigoren came back to finish fourth. Lake Stevens’s Shaquille Reed lost a close match in the semi-finals at 220 pounds but won his next match to take fourth place.
At heavyweight, Brandon Johnson’s victory for the state championship was the final victory in his undefeated season--an impressive feat, considering the schedule Lake Stevens wrestlers face. Johnson’s accomplishments this season included pinning his way through the Tri-State tournament and going 6-0 at The Clash duals in Minnesota.
Although the Vikings will lose an impressive senior class to graduation--the older Soler and Johnson along with placers Jesse Peterson, Shaq Reed and Blake Sanders--they had the best underclassmen performance out of any 4A school at the state tournament. Three freshmen and a sophomore placed in the top four, and two other underclassmen qualified but did not place. Throw in several returning juniors and a solid base of talent in the wrestling room, and the Vikings seem well-equipped for the next few years.Champions: 106lbs Michael Soler, 145lbs Eric Soler, 285lbs Brandon Johnson, 4th Place Finish:, 106lbs AJ Crew, 120lbs Jake Douglas, 170lbs Cody Vigoren, 220lbs Shaq Reed. 5th Place Finish: 138lbs Jesse Peterson. 7th Place Finish: Blake Sander