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By David Pan 

Two Mavericks earn medals at 3A state tournament | Boys wrestling


Last updated 2/21/2019 at Noon

The future look bright for Meadowdale’s wresting team.

Two Mavericks claimed medals at Mat Classic XXXI Saturday, Feb. 16, in the Tacoma Dome.

Junior Alex Kruger advanced to the semifinals in the 285-pound division before losing by fall to senior Joshua Guzik of Rogers (Spokane). Kruger then dropped two close decisions in the consolation bracket to Kelso senior McKinnie Franklin (4-3) and Cleveland senior Aram Gould (5-2) to take home a sixth-place medal.

“He’s just put in a lot of hard work and preparation,” Meadowdale coach Josh Knowles said. “He’s kind of turned that corner to being at that elite level where he can compete with anyone at state.”

Kruger pinned Lynnwood’s Elisha Abuhanna in 20 seconds in his first-round match and then won by fall over Lakeside’s Sam Petersen in 47 seconds. The Meadowdale junior then pinned Squalicum’s Dominick Mack in 59 seconds in a quarterfinal match.

“This tournament he didn’t really make that mistake that cost him a match,” Knowles said.

Expectations are likely to rise for Kruger in his senior season. All five state placers ahead of him were seniors and the six wrestlers ranked above him by the Washington Wrestling Report also are seniors.

“He should be highly rated coming into next year, which is exciting,” Knowles said.

In one of the most competitive weight classes (126), junior Jinho Lee finished sixth. After pinning Kelso’s Jacob Fowler in 2:59, Lee lost 15-0 to eventual state champion Clayton Gilliam of North Central, who defeated Edmonds-Woodway’s Grayson LeCompte 10-1 in the finals.

Lee rebounded with four victories in the consolation bracket (two pins and two decisions) before losing his final two matches.

Earlier this season, Lee went to the Tri-State tournament where he wrestled against some of the top individuals in the region.

“He had a lot of tough competition all year long, which I think helped him in the state tournament,” Knowles said. “That really helped prepare him physically and even more mentally. Jin always has had the technical skills. He changed his mindset. He’s really believing in himself.”

Two other highlights for Knowles were junior Saul Hernandez advancing to the quarterfinals at 170 and senior Tyler Paul wrapped up his high school career at state. Twelve Mavericks made the trip to the Tacoma Dome.

“Over half our team is juniors,” Knowles said.


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