Tahoma finished second to Lake Stevens at last year's 4A state tournament, but graduated a strong senior class. This year Lake Stevens has six wrestlers ranked in the top three for their weight class – including three number-one ranked wrestlers – while Tahoma has three top-three wrestlers.
At 138 pounds, senior and two-time state-champion Noah Cuzzetto started the dual off with a 16-1 technical fall over Tahoma's Shueller. Tahoma then won four consecutive matches to take an 18-5 lead over Lake Stevens going into the 182-pound match.
Lake Stevens then won three out of four matches, including a major decision by senior Logan Johnson at 182 pounds and a pin by junior Cody Vigoren at 220 pounds. Johnson is ranked third in Washington for his weight class, and Vigoren is ranked first at 195 pounds.
Tahoma scored a pin at heavyweight and forfeited at lightweight to give Lake Stevens a 27-24 lead with four matches remaining.
At 112 pounds, Tyler Headland got a pin for Lake Stevens. Headland was a regional qualifier last year at 120 pounds, despite Wrestling at 106 for most of the season: teams are only allowed to send two wrestlers per weight to the post-season, and at 106 pounds Lake Stevens had both state-champion Michael Soler and AJ Crew, who took fourth at state last year.
Crew and Soler have moved up weights this year, and both won their matches at 120 and 126 pounds, respectively, to bring the score to 42-24 and clinch the victory for Lake Stevens.
Although the dual's outcome had already been determined, the last match of the night was still one of the most exciting. Tahoma's Cruz Velazquez, who placed third at state last year and is ranked third at 132 pounds, faced off against Lake Stevens's Jake Douglas, who placed fourth at state last year and is ranked third at 126 pounds.
Velazquez scored two takedowns on Douglas in the first round to take a 4-2 lead, which Douglas cut to 4-3 in the second round with an escape. Douglas scored a takedown in the third round, but Velazquez took Douglas down two more times to win the match 9-5.
Lake Stevens has several more duals in upcoming weeks while they prepare for the Tri-State tournament in Coeur d'Alene on Dec. 20 and 21.
Find more photos online at www.lakestevensjournal.com.