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Winter sports heating up for state
Tahoma wrestlers dominated the district tournament field on Feb. 16, crowning four champions and sending 10 to this weekend’s state tournament.
Nick Whitehead (113 pounds), Cruz Velasquez (126 pounds), Justin Weiding (145 pounds) and Tucker Mjelde (160 pounds) all finished at the top of their respective fields at the 4A region 3 tournament.
The Bears finished second in state as a team in 2013 and first in 2012. Head coach Chris Feist said his group will be battling with five other teams that advanced between 10-12 wrestlers to the tournament.
“I think we are right there,” Feist said. “We need to go in on Friday night and have a good first round and build off that momentum.”
To win the team title, Feist said his group needs between two and four wrestlers going through the “front door” to the finals and four to six earning metals through the “backdoor” consolation bracket. That means preparation, focus and a few “giant killers.”
“Any time you go into a bracketed tournament, someone amongst us has got to be a giant killer,” Feist said. “We feel confident that we have a couple guys in our lineup that are skilled enough and mentally strong enough to do that.”
Both Kentlake and Kentwood will also be sending grapplers to the Mat Classic.
Kentlake’s Josh Beckler and Jon Yarbrough both earned third place, at 152 and 220 pounds, respectively, and 113-pounder Nick Smith took fourth place. Kentwood sends Dalton Meyers, who took second at 145 pounds, and Kyle Capperauld, who finished fourth at 220 pounds. Shannon Parmley, from Kentwood, will be wrestling at 112 pounds in the girls division against Danielle Crawford from Granite Falls.
The Kentwood girls basketball team lost in the closing seconds of its second round match up in district tournament play, in an overall disappointing week for area schools.
The Kentwood girls fell to Belleramine Prep by a score of 49-45 at Rogers High on Saturday, after dominating Curtis, 64-33, in the first round.
After escaping its first round contest against Central Kitsap, 40-39, the Tahoma girls also fell in the second round, losing 61-37 to Mount Rainier High. Both squads were scheduled to play a loser out game on Tuesday, after press time.
The Bears and Conquerors’ boys teams were both eliminated from the tournament after a pair of opening losses.
The Tahoma boys lost to Curtis 53-58 in the first round on Feb. 13 and to Emerald Ridge, 65-47, on Feb. 15. The Conks lost 59-48 to Bellarmine Prep in the first round and 62-56 to Auburn on Tuesday.
Gymnasts move on
The Kentlake gymnastics team took fifth at the 4A district meet led by a third place all around performance by Ashley Pernell.
The team will move to the state meet beginning Friday at the Tacoma Dome and wrapping up Saturday.
Pernell scored 36.075 all around; 9.350 for a second place on the vault; third on the bars with 8.950; 9.424 on the floor taking fourth and 18th on the beam with 8.350.
Also competing for Kentlake was Katie Beliveau, Ali Belivaeu, Brianna Tinnel, Jolene Carlson, Tahlia Duerre, Mia Parish, Avalyne Peters and Chrissie O’Connor.
Deni Cook will be competing in the vault event for Tahoma High and Zoe Krambule will be on the bars.
Maple Valley Reporter Editor Dennis Box also contributed to this report.