Tahoma’s Thomas reverses last year’s match, beats Enumclaw
Avenging a defeat that likely cost his Tahoma High School wrestling team a shot at beating Enumclaw last year, Cooper Thomas bounced back in a big way in one of the biggest matches of the year.
Special to The Seattle Times
MAPLE VALLEY – This time Cooper Thomas swung the scales in his favor.
But it wasn’t the first time Thomas has won a big battle.
Avenging a defeat that likely cost his Tahoma High School wrestling a shot at beating Enumclaw last year, Thomas bounced back in a big way in one of the biggest matches of the year.
Beating the same wrestler, Wyley Stewart, that beat him in a pivotal match in last year’s defeat, Thomas put the exclamation point on a big night for the Bears, ranked No. 3 in Class 4A.
Thomas, who dropped 115 pounds after once weighing 310, scored a 7-2 decision over Stewart at 195 pounds as Tahoma dominated from start to finish to score an eye-opening 59-9 win over Enumclaw, ranked No. 10 in 3A, on Thursday in the 12th “Battle of the Bone.”
Thomas (18-6) goes out a winner not just on the mat on Senior Night. He tipped the scaled at 310 pounds the summer before his junior year. Now, he’s on top of both worlds.
“I feel a lot better and I feel great as a person now,” said Thomas, who dropped the weight in time to wrestle these last two years. “I have lots of mental toughness now. I just got a lot better. There was lots of running and working hard in the practice room.
“This match is really important, and we invite everyone out in the entire school. We tell teachers, we tell friends and we tell peers. It’s big.”
Enumclaw won last year’s version of the rivalry 32-28, getting Stewart’s big 7-5 win over Thomas in the second-to-last match to clinch the victory.
“Any time I lose a match when it’s a dual, I always feel a little bit of weight just from a team perspective,” Thomas said. “This year, we’ve been preparing pretty well all year. It’s finally paying. It feels good to be there with my seniors and kicking butt. I had [Stewart] in the back of my head. I went out ready to battle.”
Tahoma coach Chris Feist calls Thomas the team’s “poster boy” for coming so far in such a short amount of time.
“He changed his lifestyle,” Feist said. “He bought into to what we preach, and that’s ‘Do your best.’ When he first came to us, I wasn’t sure what he’d be able to accomplish.”
On paper, it figured to be a tussle. On the mat, one of the state’s best high school wrestling rivalries wasn’t even close.
Cruz Velazquez (27-3), fourth at 126 pounds in 4A last season, put the Bears on “Cruz control” at 126 pounds, scoring an in-control 8-2 win over Hunter Haney and an early 12-3 lead. His win started a string of six consecutive Bear victories.
Tahoma went ahead 9-0 after the first two matches, thanks to six team points from Nick Whitehead, who scored a pin in 1:32 over Enumclaw’s Jake Treece at 113.
At 106, the Bears’ Dylan Weiding opened the night with a 5-4 decision over the Hornets’ Levi Norton, who was fourth at 3A state at 106 last season. Weiding scored the winning point on an escape with about 10 seconds left in regulation to break a 4-4 tie.
Todd Link hiked Tahoma’s lead to 18-3 after five matches, pinning the Hornets’ Nick Jonas in 59 seconds at 132.
The lead grew to 28-3 with a remarkable turns of events at 145 pounds. Trailing at one point 10-1, Justin Weiding rallied to score a pin in 3:33 over Jayden Fend.
Then, it was 34-3 in favor of the Bears, after OJ Jenkins applied a stick of Cavin Rewoldt in 1:21 at 152.
The margin expanded to 38-3 on Tucker Mjelde’s 11-3 major decision over Enumclaw’s Kordell Burnett at 160.
Sean Wei collected the first big points of the night for the Hornets at 170, pinning Macen Granlund in 2:37 to cut the gap to 38-9. But the lead for the Bears went right back up to 44-9 when Adam Hokenson delivered a pin in 1:23 over Jaciel Contreras at 182.
12th annual “Battle of the Bone”
Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014
At Tahoma HS
Tahoma 59, Enumclaw 9
106 – Dylan Weiding, T, dec. Levi Norton, E, 5-4.
113 – Nick Whitehead, T, pinned Jake Treece, E, 1:32.
120 – Kyle Opland, E, dec. Justin Sipila, T, 7-3.
126 – Cruz Velazquez, T, dec. Hunter Haney, E, 8-2.
132 – Todd Link, T, pinned Nick Jonas, E, 0:59.
138 – Sam Schuessler, T, maj. dec. over Ben Cross, E, 14-0.
145 – Justin Weiding, T, pinned Jayden Fend, E, 3:33.
152 – OJ Jenkins, T, pinned Cavin Rewoldt, E, 1:21.
160 – Tucker Mjelde, T, maj. dec. over Kordell Burnett, E, 11-3.
170 – Sean Wei, E, pinned Macen Granlund, T, 2:37.
182 – Adam Hokenson, T, pinned Jaciel Contreras, E, 1:23.
195 – Cooper Thomas, T, dec. Wyley Stewart, E, 7-2.
220 – Nick Palandri, T, pinned Kylan Ashcroft, E, 3:34.
285 – Aaron Vaughn, T, won by forfeit.