TACOMA – Among the eight Tigers the Tonasket wrestling team took to the 2011 Washington State Mat Classic XXIII Championships last weekend, four of them left with a medal.
“All of the guys went there with the goal of leaving with a medal and they all wrestled real tough, but four came up short,” Head Coach Dave Mitchell said. “I think they didn’t do too bad; the championships could’ve been better but it also could’ve been worse. Brandon Hudson, Peter Williams and Dustin Silverthorn all had really good tournaments and Keegan McCormick’s wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t what we were shooting for.”
McCormick was the highest placer for the Tigers, finishing the 171 weight class in third place while Hudson finished in fourth place at 215 pounds, Williams finished in sixth place at 140 pounds and Silverthorn finished in seventh place at 160 pounds.
Williams was also honored with the Academic State Champion Award for having the highest grade point average in his weight class in the 1A division.
“I knew Williams had a pretty high GPA so I nominated him for the award and he won it, which was pretty neat,” Mitchell said. “I think Trey Jensen and Billy Monroe also won this award in the past.”
Williams said it felt pretty good to win this award.
“I’m really happy to get this award,” he said. “I also think the team is doing pretty well to have four state placers.”
Before the final round on Saturday, Feb. 19, Mitchell was introduced to the wrestling community as a Washington State Coaches Hall of Fame Coach, along with this year’s other inductees.
“Joining the Hall of Famers on the floor at the Dome wasn’t nearly as stressful as the banquet where I had to give a speech,” Mitchell said. “The State Tournament is kind of like Christmas for me, with guys I wrestled against in high school there plus my family: my mom, my wife and my three sons who are all coaches now there. Patrick coaches at Chewelah, which is also a 1A school and they finished in 12th place while Tonasket finished in 13th place by a half-point difference. He was pretty tickled with that.”
The other four state participants for the Tigers were junior Jared Stedtfeld at 112 pounds, senior Tyler Laurie at 135 pounds, senior Lee Leavell at 145 pounds and sophomore Austin Booker at 152 pounds. Stedtfeld won his first match and lost his next two while Laurie lost his first match, won his second and lost his third.
“Everyone but Leavell and Booker won a match,” Mitchell said. “Leavell almost came back in his second match to win after being unconscious and Booker had tough competition right off the bat.”
Mitchell said he wanted to thank all of the Tonasket supporters for traveling such a long distance.
“After wrestling finishes up on Saturday, we always go to a restaurant together and this year there were 99 people with a Tonasket connection at the restaurant.”