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Auburn moves 8 to Mat Classic XXIV | Prep wrestling
It was a simple statement, but it meant the world to first-year Auburn wrestling coach Dennis Herren.
"Assistant Coach (Tony) Vacca said to me that we will not be able to fit all our state qualifiers in one car," Herren said. "And I smiled at that."
With eight wrestlers – seven boys and one girl – moving on the Mat Classic XXIV championships this Friday and Saturday at the Tacoma Dome, it looks like a bus ride is in order for the Trojans.
Auburn finished third in the team competition with 122.5 points at Saturday's 4A Region III meet at Thomas Jefferson High School.
The Trojans got regional championship performances from 106-pound senior Brian Alonzo and 152-pound senior Tilden Sansom.
Junior Josh Tate was second at 152 pounds and junior Seth Mizoguchi was second at 160. Also grabbing a runner-up spot at the regional tourney was 182-pound junior James West.
Senior Stephen Heinze punched his ticket to state with a fourth at 170.
Also earning a state berth was sophomore Tyson Gaillac, who grabbed fourth at 126 pounds.
Herren lauded both Gaillac and the team's performance.
"I know they want this, to compete with the best at the Tacoma Dome," Herren said. "They show it on the mat. A good example is Tyson who, in a make-or-break-qualifying match, had a last-second takedown to tie it up and push it into overtime. The match grinded all the way to double overtime, and Tyson's face showed nothing by determination. He wanted to be at the Dome."
Also earning a spot at Mat Classic for the Trojans was defending state champ Katrynia Todd, who swept the 137-pound bracket at the Region II meet at Emerald Ridge High School. Todd notched two pins and a 10-1 major decision over Beamer's Vanessa Dixon in the title match.
Tahoma took the team title with 303.5 points. South Kitsap was second with 141.5.
Mat Classic XXIV begins at 10 a.m. Friday and continues at 10 a.m. Saturday.
ALSO: Auburn Riverside senior Nate Mead earned as spot at Mat Classic with a fourth-place finish at 145 pounds. Sophomore Larkin Williams also will compete at state, courtesy of his fourth-place finish at 285 pounds.