Eli Mason earns second state title
The Cheney High School wrestling season is officially over, with three of its team members placing at the Mat Classic XXV Championships in Tacoma Feb. 15-16.
Returning to the top, this time in the 182-pound weight class, was senior Eli Mason, who pinned his first round opponent, Anacortes sophomore Aron Tisinger, in 1 minute. Mason proved to be dominant from there, winning his next matches 17-1 and 14-3 against Steilacoom and Washington. In his final match against Selah High School’s Zach Goodpaster, Mason pulled out a narrow 3-1 victory to take first place.
It marks only the second time that Cheney has had a two-time state champion. Only David Courchaine in 2000 and 2001 accomplished the feat in the past.
Senior Cameron Schlotter (195) easily won his first two matches versus Sedro Woolley and Archbishop Murphy 16-0 and 19-4, respectively. He lost his match against Archbishop Murphy’s Foster Wade 6-3, but battled back to win his next two matches to earn third place.
“It’s tough to lose the semifinal and come back to win your next two matches,” head coach Wade Schlotter said.
Zac Corean (285) had a strong state tournament, despite losing his first match.
“Zac wrestled a great match and was leading 5-4 with 20 seconds left in the match, when Monike threw Zac to his back and pinned with eight seconds left,” Schlotter said.
Corean would work his way back up to fourth place, losing 3-2 to Micky Miller of West Valley (Spokane).
Sam Pegg (170), Josh Wessels (160) and Vern Sanderson (145) also made it to state, but each had tough first round opponents that ended their title pursuit. Sanderson was leading in his first round match by 5-3, but a penalty and giving up an escape to tie the score pushed it into overtime where he eventually lost.
Overall, Schlotter thought this year’s season went well. Strong individual results throughout the season translated into a good group of talented wrestlers advancing through the playoffs. Cheney finished fourth in the league tournament, but was second among all of the Great Northern League teams at the state level.
“Our dual team was a little inconsistent because we had holes in our lineup, so match-ups with other teams really decided our success,” he said. “Our tournament team was good because we had quality kids who could score points in any tournament we competed in.”
Regarding next season, work is already underway to prepare the next group of potential state champions.
“We’re going to try to get as many kids to wrestle freestyle this spring, and then to summer camps,” he said.
This year’s team had strong leadership from the seniors, who are headed on to greater venues.
“We are going to definitely miss the seniors. They accounted for all the points at this year’s state tournament,” Schlotter said.
Sanderson, Wessels and Noah Ziemann in particular will be among those called on to help lead next year’s team.
“We’ll be looking to build next year’s team around their leadership,” Schlotter said.
James Eik can be reached at email@example.com.