Losing weight is winning move for Snohomish senior | Wrestling
The Panthers senior, down to 285 pounds from 365 last year, helps his team beat Lake Stevens for the WesCo 4A subregional championship.
Seattle Times staff reporter
MONROE — Travis Williams remembers the hurtful words and names.
They helped motivate him to make healthier diet and exercise choices, enabling him to lose more than 30 pounds since the start of wrestling season. He finally met the highest weight standard in time to qualify for the subregional tournament.
"I used to be made fun of a lot," the Snohomish High School senior said. "I was picked on because of my size."
The 6-foot-4 Williams has been in the Panthers' wrestling program for four years, but never got down to the 285-pound mark until last week, when his coaches got him the required four matches to make him eligible for subregionals. Last year, Williams weighed 365. After months on an exercise bike and elliptical this season and a diet full of greens, he achieved his goal.
And Saturday, all of his hard work paid off with a fifth-place finish at the WesCo 4A subregional, earning him a spot in the Region I tournament. The top five automatically qualified and sixth-place finishers will wrestle a pigtail match against No. 3 qualifiers out of the Greater St. Helen's League.
When Williams climbed the stairs to the upper bleachers to celebrate with his father, the two embraced and Travis said, "Dad, you can put your arms around me now."
Snohomish coach Rob Zabel called Williams' transformation "awe-inspiring."
"He's a great kid," he said. "He's moving on (to regionals) and he's half the man he used to be."
The sixth-ranked Panthers had plenty to celebrate Saturday as they upset No. 3 Lake Stevens to win the team title in convincing style, 404-305.
Lake Stevens, the defending 4A state champion, had won 12 straight subregional titles. The Vikings' biggest losses came before the tournament even started Friday, as two top-seeded wrestlers — Dakota Reynolds (113) and Jesse Peterson (120) failed to make weight.
Peterson, a junior, was a key part of Lake Stevens' run to the state title last season as he placed second at 103. He was ranked second in the state in 4A behind Michael Nguyen from Evergreen of Vancouver, the wrestler he lost to in the state finals. Reynolds, a senior and two-time state qualifier, was ranked third in 4A.
But Lake Stevens coach Brent Barnes said even they likely would not have been enough to stop Snohomish Saturday.
"Let's not take anything away from Snohomish," he said. "I doubt if those two kids would have made a difference.
Snohomish advanced 18 to regionals and came away with three champions — Steven Speer (120), Ammon Morrill (160) and Luke Reinhard (220).
Lake Stevens will bring 16 to regionals, led by subregional champs Eric Soler (126), Kinsey Johnson (138), Ryan Olliges (182) and Brandon Johnson (285).
Zabel wasn't surprised with the outcome, even though the Panthers lost to Lake Stevens during the dual-meet season.
"We expected to win," he said. "I don't want to sound crass or pompous. ... I'll take my top 28 against anybody's top 28. I couldn't have asked for a better scenario today as far as how they performed and how they've stuck together."
• One of the biggest surprises of the tournament was Stanwood junior Carlos Vilchis, who was unseeded at 220 coming in. He pinned top-seeded Shaq Reed from Lake Stevens in the semifinals and wound up second.
• Arlington's Blake McPherson ran his record to 29-0 in winning the 195-pound title.