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State tournament tough on Valley wrestlers

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Three wrestlers from Cedarcrest and ten from Mount Si made the

trek this last weekend to the Tacoma Dome to participate in Mat Classic XII.

Two from each school placed as tough competition took its toll on the

local grapplers.

Topping the list of local wrestlers who faired well at the Tacoma

Dome was Cedarcrest's Eric Pedeferri. The talented senior worked his

way through his first match by defeating Sunnyside's Everardo Rivera by

pin at the 1:27 mark of the first round. The pin set him up for a

second-round match against Bryan Howson of Sedro Woolley, whom he also pinned,

although it took a bit longer at 4:53, well into the third round. The two wins

assured the senior of at least a sixth-place finish but obviously, the

championship was still on his mind.

In the semi-finals, Pedeferri faced Timberline's Josh Linder. Linder

had defeated Sequim's Robbie Walden, a contender in his own right, to

move into competition with Pedeferri. In the semi-finals Pedeferri controlled

the entire match from the beginning with Linder doing everything he could

to keep from getting pinned. In the end the kid from Timberline was sent

to the consolation bracket by a very determined Red Wolf wrestler.

The 5-0 win over Linder moved Pedeferri into the finals and into

competition with a tough wrestler, Lynnwood's Joel

Mittelman. Mittelman had defeated Pedeferri earlier in the season at a tournament

10-1, so the stage was set for a real battle.

Pedeferri scored first with a takedown but quickly lost his

hold, allowing Mittelman to reverse. The two battled tirelessly the rest of

the first round, with Pedeferri never quite able to escape.

Mittelman had position choice to start the second round but deferred

to Pedeferri who chose neutral. Eric took the first shot, getting the takedown

of Mittelman. Working inside on setting up a cradle, Pedeferri got a bit

too high, allowing Mittelman to reverse and tie the score. He then worked

to gain an advantage on Pedeferri, finally moving his shoulders near the mat

for the three-point nearfall and a 7-4 advantage going into the last

round. Mittelman chose down for the third round and quickly reversed

Pedeferri for two more points.

The look in Pedeferri's eyes was an indication of his intensity and

desire to win. He strained, finally scoring the reverse, but Mittelman

appeared to hold a slight strength advantage and escaped Pedeferri's grasp.

He then took Pedeferri to the mat, controlling him until the final

whistle sounded. The Red Wolf senior had been defeated by a score of six

to Mittelman's 12.

The loss quickly came to light on the Pedeferri's face as tears welled

up in his eyes.

"It's been a good four years," he was quick to add, sitting quietly

near the mat. "It was a great high school experience," Pedeferri said. "I

could have gone to Liberty but went to Cedarcrest and totally started

something new."

And, as his fans and coach will add, he is and has been

Cedarcrest wrestling, creating a legacy that will live on for many years. His

accomplishments include a KingCo championship, Region 2 champ and

state placer four years in a row. He is also Cedarcrest's first four-year,

three-sport letter winner. He can also lay claim as the only Region 2 wrestler

to make it to the finals this year.

In addition to the elder Pedeferri making it to the championship

round the younger, Aaron, placed a respectable sixth after losing to

Aberdeen's Mike Cady in the consolation finals. His first two matches ended with a

pin and a major decision, but in the semis against Nghia Nuynh the

young Pedeferri fell in a first-round pin. The loss moved him to the

consolation bracket and to the eventual

sixth-place finish.

"It feels good to at least place, said Aaron after the match. "I need to

get in the weight room this summer," he added.

His teammate and fellow freshman Darren DeBoer lost his opening

match to Jenkins Chan of Issaquah then lost to Yelm's Matt Smith, but the fact

that he made it to state is an indication of his future plans.

Mount Si also had a few state placers, sending 10 to the competition.

At the top of the list was Andrew Ahmadi, the senior, wrestling in the

112-pound class. Ahmadi made it all the way to sixth, his best finish ever, earning

him a medal and bragging rights as a state placer. But his road to the medal

took him all the way through the consolation bracket after losing his

first-round match to Lake Stevens' Danny Kleven. Kleven would go on to take the

state championship.

From there Ahmadi posted three wins before losing to his old

nemesis, Jenkins Chan, in the consolation semi-finals. The loss moved him to the

fifth-sixth match where he again lost to Franklin Pierce's Craig Fawcett.

Still, the loss did not discourage the senior from showing his excitement on

placing sixth.

"It was a great season. I have been working incredibly hard and coming

here I had nothing to lose," said Ahmadi. "Although it was kind

of scary being in front of all these people. I wanted to put on a show for the

last time I wrestle."

Ahmadi has plans to attend the University of Washington after

graduation.

Also placing for Mount Si was KingCo and regional champ

Blake Moore, who wrestled in the tough 135-pound class. Moore won his

initial match against Interlake's Michael Eav before losing to Clarkston's

Anthony Johnson.

The loss moved him into the consolation bracket where he again

defeated Issaquah's Truong Luu before losing to Andy Andrews of

Sedro Wooley. That loss moved him immediately to the seventh-eighth

category where he lost to Washington's Mike Pike, 14-2.

"I knew the competition was going to be tough, but I wanted to

place better than eighth," said Moore after the match. "It was a long day

mentally. I'm worn down with all the injuries.

"I wish it could have ended better" he added. The senior plans to

attend a mission for his church after graduation before making any

plans for the future.

Other Mount Si competitors at state were Kyle Cunningham in

the 119-pound class, who lost two successive matches; Chad Mills in the

130-pound class, who won one consolation match; Jeff Stone, who lost

two successive matches; Ryan Smith in the 152-pound class, who lost two

successive matches; Brad Davis in the 189-pound class, who lost two

successive matches; Dylan Seubert in the 215-pound class, who lost two

successive matches; Brad Connor in the 275-pound class, who won one

consolation match; and Sean Sexton, who also won one consolation match.

Both coaches appeared equally pleased about their appearance at

Mat Classic XII. "We brought the whole team down to hopefully get them

excited and wanting to be here, said Cedarcrest coach Josh Garcia.

"Make them a little bit eager, he added.

"We were able to bring 10 people that were going to be exposed to

the state tournament, two that had been here before and eight that hadn't,"

said Mount Si head coach Bruce Caldwell. "We had a number of kids win

a match, got a couple of placers, so we are very satisfied.

"State is as tough as it always has been," he added. "This tournament

has been his very best. If there was a right time to peek, Andrew found it.

Blake has been steady all season and he's in a really tough weight class."

Mount Si finished with 16 team points, for 41st place. Cedarcrest

finished 17th with 32 team points, the highest placement of any team

from Region 2.

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