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Arlington's freshman duo heads to Mat Classic XXIII
LAKE STEVENS — For Arlington wrestlers Conner Gonzalez and Bryce Thomas, achieving their goal has been a process of 10 years in the making.
Both freshmen, the 119-pounders have been wrestling at least that long and accomplished their goal of earning a spot at state at the 4A Region 1 tournament Feb. 12 at Cavelero Mid High School.
“This was the goal all year,” said Thomas, who defeated Gonzalez 8-7 in the match for third place. The top four advanced to Mat Classic XXIII at the Tacoma Dome Feb. 18.
Such a close outcome is what Gonzalez and Thomas expect when taking on each other, as they have been pushing each other since middle school.
“It makes it more difficult,” said Gonzalez. “Because he knows what I’m trying to do and I know what he’s trying to do.”
Arlington qualified three wrestlers to state with 152-pounder Nathan Shortt earning his second straight trip.
“On the upside, two of the three guys we take are freshmen, so there is somewhere to build,” said Arlington coach Shaun Williams. “On the downside, we didn’t do the things we know we can do.”
Williams said he thought he could have had as many as six state participants.
“For the most part, those freshmen did what you needed to do to be successful, and they were,” said Williams. “But there is always room for improvement.”
And Thomas understands where Williams is coming from, as even though he achieved his goal for the season, it is by no means over.
“I want to get in there and see how far I can get,” he said.
Thomas will begin the state tournament against Graham-Kapowsin’s Adam Romano at 10:30 a.m. Feb.18 while Conner Conzales faces Rogers’ Bryce Evans at 10:40 a.m.
Shortt takes on Thomas Jefferson’s Zeke Nistrain at 12:10 p.m.
two to state
The Cougars came away with two wrestlers making the trip to the Tacoma Dome for Mat Classic XXIII.
Senior 285-pounder Alex Wilson will face Steilacoom’s Jack Newhouse at 1:28 p.m. Feb. 18.
Also heading to Tacoma is sophomore Allyson Lawton, who will face Highline’s Diana Prudente at 10:48 a.m. in a 125-pound match.