Cedarcrest's Pedeferri, DeBoer, state champions

TACOMA - Seven Valley wrestlers came home from the 2003 Mat Classic XV state wrestling tournament with medals last Saturday, including two as state champions. At 125 pounds, Cedarcrest's Aaron Pedeferri won his third straight state title finishing the season with a record of 37-0 and a career high-school record of 142-8. He finished sixth in state as a freshman.

Teammate Darren DeBoer, after taking second in state last year, finally clinched his own state championship at 135 pounds, giving Cedarcrest enough points to take third overall as a team.

Three other Red Wolves' wrestlers won medals: David Howard, a freshman, at 112 pounds, took sixth; Andrew Claussen, a senior, took fifth at 152 pounds; and Robby Westermann, also a senior, took fifth at 189 pounds. For Mount Si Matt Haas, a freshman at 119 pounds, took fifth and Nick Martindale, a senior, took fifth at 145 pounds.

The road to a medal was difficult at best at the Tacoma Dome. Three of those getting medals - Haas, Martindale and Claussen - made it to the semi-finals without a loss after the first day of the tournament. But for the Red Wolves' Howard, and the rest of the medal winners, it was a different story.

Howard had to work his way through the consolation bracket to get his sixth-place finish. He won his first-round match against Jake Amadeo of Clover Park 12-0, then lost his next match to Vinh Tran of Highline 11-4, forcing him into the consolation finals. Howard then defeated two opponents for a shot at third or fourth, but Mike Woodruff of Bellingham defeated him in the consolation semi-finals putting him into the fifth- or sixth-place match. There he met Tran again and lost 14-6 for sixth place.

Haas won his first two matches, defeating James Standerfer of Clarkston 2-0 and then Joe Bowen of Yelm, by fall at 5:43. In the semi-finals he lost to Brandon Shetlin of North Thurston 15-6, forcing him into the consolation bracket. His first consolation match was against Renton's Greg Abe, to whom he lost by technical fall 18-2. In the fifth- or sixth-place match he defeated Sedro Woolley's Zack Olson 9-4.

Martindale followed a similar path for Mount Si. He defeated Bellingham's Levi Brearley 9-4 in his first match, then Jeff Nmrick of Peninsula 7-4 in his second match. In the semis, Columbia River's Kyle Bounds pulled out a 6-4 win sending the Wildcat to the consolation finals. He lost that match to Grandview's Adam Logozzo 8-5, sending him to the fifth-sixth match. Martindale headed to the mat without an opponent in his last match as a Mount Si wrestler. His opponent, Tony Dorward of Mount Rainer, forfeited the match due to injury, giving Martindale his fifth-place finish.

"I should have won my last match, it could have gone either way," said Martindale of his match against Logozzo. "He had a lot of strength and I wasn't wrestling that good. But I'm happy I get to stand on the podium."

With the end of Martindale's match came the end of Mount Si coach Mike Johnston's career.

It would be his last match as a high-school wrestling coach - 15 years after he first assisted coach Bruce Caldwell and 28 after starting at Mount Si. He reflected on why coaching is such an integral part of his time at Mount Si.

"The time spent with the kids, that's what makes it kind of enjoyable, the time with the kids," said Johnston. "Celebrating their success, dealing with their losses, hoping to help them see things from a better perspective."

Johnston also will be retiring from teaching in June but plans to be back watching his wrestlers next season.

For the complete story, pick up a copy of this week's Valley Record

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