Mat Classic on deck: Turner, Swartz win regionals, aim for state titles

The Auburn High wrestling team continued to flex its muscles Saturday afternoon at Snohomish High.

Behind another crowning performance from senior star Jake Swartz at 189 pounds, the Trojans secured a third-place team finish from the Class 4A Region I tournament with 147 points.

Auburn’s point total was higher than any other South Puget Sound League North Division team, 13 points ahead of fourth-place Tahoma (134) and 37 points ahead of fifth place Kentwood (110).

As expected, top-ranked Lake Stevens walked away with the team title, racking up an impressive 260.5 points followed considerably by Snohomish (162).

In what was regarded as the toughest regional tournament in the state, Auburn pushed an SPSL North-high eight wrestlers to Friday and Saturday’s state tournament at the Tacoma Dome.

“The guys did as I expected,” said Auburn coach John Aiken. “If you can make top 5 in this region, you have a pretty good shot of doing well (at state). With a good draw or without a good draw.”

Swartz wasn’t alone among local champions Saturday as Auburn Riverside senior Michael Turner (119) pounds also brought home a title. Both Turner and Swartz will be making their fourth-consecutive trips to state. Swartz (32-1 this year, 144-12 in his career) will be aiming at becoming Auburn High’s first-ever three-time state champion. He already established the school’s all-time win mark earlier this season.

“It has been a privilege to be in the corner when he goes out there,” said Aiken. “It will be a little emotional (at state) because I’ve known him since he was really, really young.”

Meanwhile, Turner will be taking aim at placing at the state tournament for the first time in his prep career. He enters the tournament with a 34-4 record this season. A.J. Schultz (third at 140 pounds) was the only other Raven to qualify for the state tournament.

And while Swartz was Auburn’s lone champion, there still were plenty of solid performances throughout. Of note was Auburn’s Steven Chacko (fifth at 103) who had to go through Kentlake’s Colton Marlowe to earn a state berth. Marlowe had beaten Chacko twice this year.

“He did it convincingly,” Aiken said. “He was pretty motivated to qualify for state.”

As were Dylan Rutledge and Chris Young, both of whom brought home second-place finishes. Rutledge fell to Tahoma’s Nick Bayer in the 171-pound finale, 5-3. Young lost to Tahoma’s Konner Knudtsen in the 215-pound finale, 5-3.

Other Auburn state qualifiers included: Kelly Maughan (third at 125), Graham Davis (third at 152), Michael Karpstein (fifth at 160) and Nick Conlan (third at 285).



• WHAT: The state wrestling tournament.

• WHEN: Friday and Saturday. Matches begin Friday and Saturday at 10 a.m. The championship round is slated for 5 p.m. on Saturday.

• WHERE: Tacoma Dome.

• ADMISSION: One-day pass – Students with ASB, $10; Adults $14; Elementary school students $10; Senior citizens $10. Two-day pass – Students with ASB, $16; Adults $22; Elementary school students $16; Senior citizens $16.

• AT STAKE: The top eight wrestlers in each weight class bring home state medals. The top four teams bring home trophies.

• NOTABLE: Auburn’s Jake Swartz (189) is looking to become the school’s first-ever three-time state champion. Swartz is 145-12 for his prep career. … Auburn Riverside’s Michael Turner (119) is making his fourth straight state appearance, but hasn’t brought home any hardware. Look for that to change this weekend.