Oksana Galiant face-to-face with her opponent in the state championship. Ben Ray / The Reporter

Oksana Galiant face-to-face with her opponent in the state championship. Ben Ray / The Reporter

Mat Classic XXXV breakdown: Kent School District

Kentwood’s Wright and Kent-Meridian’s Galiant just miss titles.

To be a wrestler takes a special type of person, and to get to the Tacoma Dome every year, it takes an even more special person combined with the right team.

Inside the Tacoma Dome for Mat Classic XXXV last weekend, nine wrestlers from the Kent School District made it to the second day, the placing day — a day that crowns everyone from champions to eighth place and even crushes wrestlers’ dreams who fall just short.

It was the female wrestlers who came closest to a state title. From Kent-Meridian, senior but first-year wrestler Oksana Galiant went on a hot streak and reached the state championship at 145 pounds.

Her record, according the Trackwrestling, was 26-13 going into the championship match. Her 13 losses were tied for third most in the entire 145 pound weight division.

She wrestled Bailey Parker out of Peninsula High School, who had just one loss the entire season. Galiant fell, but the journey to get there is what impressed boys head coach Todd Owens.

“It’s unbelievable, she’s a first-year wrestler with a judo background. But that doesn’t make up for being a first year. To be in the finals is unbelievable,” Owens said.

The all-around athlete Sarah Wright has improved every year since making the state tournament coming out of the COVID pandemic. She placed third last year and this time made it into the championship for the first time in her career.

Wright was paired with the one wrestler she has struggled to beat, Clarissa Wangen from Curtis. Wangen once again got the better of Wright, but the Curtis coach commended Sarah Wright on her improvement over the years and how good of a wrestler she had become.

Back on the boys side, Kent-Meridian had five wrestlers finish on the podium. The best finisher was Adonai Garza, who placed second last year and took third this year.

The Karimi brothers were matched up in the fifth-place match at 106 pounds. Farzad forfeited the match to let his older brother Elyas take fifth place in his senior year. Farzad is a sophomore and will look to follow up a strong season this year with another one next year.

Mousa Sudan and Raul Morales both made it to day two and stood on the podium at the end of the day. Sudan took sixth and Morales placed eighth in their final matches of the season.

“Overall, it was a really good tournament for us... All in all, I think our kids did really well,” Owens said.

Kent-Meridian had a very strong showing and a very strong team season to that point. Building a program like this has taken a lot from Owens, but now that the program is nearing its peak, he wants to stay there.

“It feels really good. When I started we had 12 kids, we were never able to fill out a lineup. As the years go on, we have had some really good people help out,” Owens said.

Kentwood and Kentridge on the boys side wouldn’t be left off the podium. The two wrestled in the seventh/eighth place match in the 106-weight class. Jaxon Love and Arman Sandhu went down to the wire to find a winner. Sandu was awarded a point for stalling in round two and took down Love for two insurance points to take seventh place.

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Sarah and Dan Wright walk off the mat together. Ben Ray / The Reporter

Sarah and Dan Wright walk off the mat together. Ben Ray / The Reporter

Adonai Garza wrestling on the first day of competition. Ben Ray / The Reporter

Adonai Garza wrestling on the first day of competition. Ben Ray / The Reporter

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