WRESTLING: Tahoma rolls to sub-district title; Kent schools combine for four crowns

Plenty of the expected was joined by one big surprise Saturday at Kent-Meridian High during the South Puget Sound League North Division sub-district wrestling tournament.

  • BY Wire Service
  • Monday, February 8, 2010 5:08pm
  • Sports
Tahoma's Steven Hopkins (top) takes control of his match against Kentwood's Ruben Navejas in the 103-pound finals. Hopkins upset Navejas

Tahoma's Steven Hopkins (top) takes control of his match against Kentwood's Ruben Navejas in the 103-pound finals. Hopkins upset Navejas

Plenty of the expected was joined by one big surprise Saturday at Kent-Meridian High during the South Puget Sound League North Division sub-district wrestling tournament.

The expected was the overall performance of third-ranked Tahoma, which had its way with the competition en route to capturing its first sub-district crown since 1998.

The Bears rolled to the team title, racking up 391.5 and six individual titles, well ahead of second-place Auburn (288.5) and third-place Kentwood (217.5).

It was a statement day for Tahoma, which anticipates being in the thick of the team championship race at the state meet on Feb. 19-20 at the Tacoma Dome.

“This just kind of put up a statement,” said Tahoma 215-pounder Konner Knudtsen, who knocked off Auburn’s Chris Young 3-1 in the finals to improve to 33-0 this season. “All that people talk about is Lake Stevens or University (Spokane). I think this made a statement to say, ‘Hey, Tahoma is here.’”

Also winning titles for the Bears included Steven Hopkins (103), Jordan Higa (135), Tyler Lamb (140), Ryan Ota (152) and Nick Bayer (189).

The top four wrestlers in each weight classed earned berths to this Friday and Saturday’s regional tournament at Auburn High, which will include top-ranked Lake Stevens. Lake Stevens has won three-straight state championships. Tahoma advanced a tournament-high 11 wrestlers onto the regional tournament, followed by Auburn (10), Kentlake (8), Kentwood (8), Kent-Meridian (6), Thomas Jefferson (5), Kentridge (4), Auburn Riverside (3) and Federal Way (1). The Bears also claimed the most individual titles (6) followed by Auburn (3), Kentlake (2) while Kentridge, Kent-Meridian and Thomas Jefferson crowned one apiece.

While Tahoma delivered – as expected – at the sub-district tournament, the day did include a surprise, which came at 103 pounds, where Kentwood’s Ruben Navejas, the defending Class 4A state champ, fell to Tahoma sophomore Steven Hopkins in the championship match, 3-0.

It was the first time in five attempts Hopkins has beaten Navejas.

“I was more confident than I was every other time we wrestled,” said Hopkins, who improved to 31-3. “I figured out that he’s just another wrestler and he can be beat just like everybody else.”

In a tightly contested showdown, Hopkins managed a reverse in the second period and was awarded another point after Navejas locked his hands.

Navejas came into the tournament as a two-time league champion. It also was the first loss of his career to a league opponent.

Navejas refused comment after the loss.

“Losses are always wake-up calls in my opinion,” said Kentwood coach Ken Sroka. “I am sure he’s going to take that home and work on what he needs to do next week. That’s all he can do. I hope that he takes it, goes to practice next week and becomes a man on a mission. We’ll see.”

Despite the loss, Navejas remains one of the favorites to win the state title. Also expected to contend for the state title at 103 will be Hopkins and Kent-Meridian’s Jesus Valdez, who finished third on Saturday. The three wrestlers are ranked 1-2-3 in the state.

Navejas’ teammates Jose Hernandez (125) and Nathan Herrick (285) also brought home second-place finishes.

Another impressive performance on Saturday came from Kentlake’s Jeff Harjehausen at 112 pounds. Harjejausen came into the tournament as the No. 12 seed and left with top billing, holding off teammate Sean Farr in the finals, 6-5.

Colton Marlowe (119) captured Kentlake’s other championship while teammates Ryan Cavanagh (145) and Ben Richie (152) both took second.

“Overall, I’m trying to make it to state,” Marlowe said. “Last year, I was on the fringe. I was one match away.”

Meanwhile, Kentridge’s Nick Aliment (125), a year after being surprised by his league championship, repeated the performance with a 9-3 decision over Kentwood’s Jose Hernandez.

Aliment improved to 28-3 with the win.

“This year, I was much more confident in what was going on. I knew the scene. I felt a lot more confident in my abilities,” he said. “Now I am hoping to take first at regionals and finish top five at state.”

Aliment was Kentridge’s lone champion, but far from the Chargers’ only solid performance.

Kentridge sophomore Jeff Seid made a big impact at 160 pounds with a second-place finish. Between Seid and Aliment, both of whom will be back next year, the Kentridge program is moving up after several years of struggles.

“The coaches are all saying how our program is moving in the right direction. It makes me happy,” said Kentridge coach Jason De La Rosa. “We have a really young team. Next year, we’re probably going to be one of the teams to beat.”

Seid, however, couldn’t knock off Kent-Meridian’s Nick Lemmon, who continued his dominance of the 160-pound weight class. Lemmon, a third-year wrestler who qualified for state last year, held off Seid 7-4 in the championship match.

In one of the state’s most difficult weight classes this winter, the win proved big, Lemmon said.

“It was really important for me to win it because regions is going to be really tough. I needed that higher seed,” said Lemmon. “I am shooting for top five at state, that’s my goal.”


TEAM SCORES: 1. Tahoma 391.5. 2. Auburn 288.5. 3. Kentwood 217.5. 4. Kentlake 202. 5. Kentridge 177. 6. Kent-Meridian 171. 7. Thomas Jefferson 137.5. 8. Auburn Riverside 115. 9. Federal Way 47.


103: Steven Hopkins (T) d. Ruben Navejas (KW) 3-0. 112: Jeff Harjehausen (KL) d. Sean Farr (KL), 6-5. 119: Colton Marlowe (KL) d. Tanner Mjelde (T) 7-5. 125: Nick Aliment (KR) d. Jose Hernandez (KW) 9-3. 130: Kelly Maughan (A) wins by injury default over Willie Pineda (A). 135: Jordan Higa (T) d. Ivan Mukomol (TJ) 5-3. 140: Tyler Lamb (T) wins by injury default over Christian Hayden (T). 145: Kyle McIntosh (TJ) p. Sean Cavanagh (KL), 5:10. 152: Ryan Ota (T) p. Ben Richie (KL) 3:17. 160: Nick Lemmon (K-M) d. Jeff Seid (KR) 7-4. 171: Dylan Ruttledge (A) p. Luke Barzie (K-M) 3:28. 189: Nick Bayer (T) p. KW Williams (TJ) 3:27. 215: Konner Knudtsen (T) d. Chris Young (A) 3-1. 275: Nick Conlan (A) d. Nathan Herrick (KW) 5-3.

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