Submitted by Mule Coach Matt Stacey
In 2012 the Mule wrestling team took second at the regional tournament, edged out in the last matches by LaConner. In 2013 the Mule wrestling team again took second, this time to Raymond.
Each time the Mules had their opportunities. It could come across as a cop-out from the second place coach, or even as sour grapes. But the day a coach can not learn from an older and wiser coach is the day he should hang up his shoes. Legendary Coach John Wooden has an interesting clip on you-tube concerning winning and success. In it he defines the difference between winning and success. As coaches and athletes we can not always gain the victory, but we can always be successful.
With Coach Wooden’s perspective, it is a pleasure to point out some of our successful and some of our winning moments from the tournament. In my mind the most successful Mule wrestler from the weekend was senior Adam Vasion. Only three wrestlers progress to state from the Western Regional tournament, with the fourth place available as an alternate. Adam walked into the toughest weight class in our tournament; 160 lbs. has three state contending quality kids seated in front of Adam as well as another very quality wrestler from the north. In his first match Adam went down by around nine points in the first round, but battled his way back to beat the wrestler in the end of the final round. After a difficult loss in his second match and a commanding win in his third, Adam was to wrestle the number 1 seated wrestler from the north. In a heart breaker of a match, with several questionable calls by the officiating staff, time ran out 8-8. In sudden death overtime Adam lost the take down, giving him fourth place on the day. It is unfair to consider the day a loss for Adam as he had wrestled up to his full potential and more, giving it everything he had every time, as he always does. Adam epitomized success Saturday, coming off the mat as a tough competitor and a true sportsman.
Adam is one of seven wrestlers who have earned the right to appear at the Tacoma Dome for the Mat Classic. Wrestling at 126 Alex Johnson fought his way to second place. Wrestling only kids from the Southern Sub-regional, Alex was dominant to the finals where he ran once again into Tony Raupp of Winlock.
Luke Stacey (132) in contrast, faced wrestlers from the Northern Region en route to the finals. Battling back in each of his first two matches Stacey entered the finals against Drew Angelous from Ocosta in another rematch from districts. The finals was Drew’s first match of the day as he had a bye and then received a forfeit from a wrestler who didn’t want to wrestle against him. This was the third match up between Stacey and Angelous this season, and after a successful match Luke was forced to content himself with a hard fought second in regions.
Coming in at 138, Mason Mackey is now a two-time regional champion. He won the tournament in 2012 at 126 lbs. For Mackey this day was rather anti-climatic as his major competition expected in the finals match was forced to injury default before the match started. Mason enters the state tournament as the Mule’s only number 1 seed.
Brandon Burdick joins Adam Vasion as the Mules' two state alternate wrestlers. They continue to practice and come to the state tournament ready to wrestle in case one of the other wrestlers in their weight class misses weight, is injured before the tournament or for some other reason is unable to compete.
Burdick (a junior at 145 lbs) was 2-2 on the day, taking fourth place. Junior Nate Cothren (152) finished Saturday 3 and 1. His only loss came in the semi-finals against the eventual second place winner.
Trystan Mendez rounds out the Mules state team. Wrestling at 170 lbs. in the finals, he faced a rematch from districts against Camizined from Raymond. It is never easy to defeat the same competitor three times, and the third time ended up being the charm for Camizined. Trystan heads to the state tournament as a second seed.
For those who are interested the state brackets are available at the WIAA website. It appears as all the matches will also be broadcast live on line this year. State wrestling begins Friday at 10 a.m. Finals will conclude Saturday evening.