The wrestling mat has been Ethan Pedro’s proving ground all season.
Motivated to perform beyond his own expectations, Auburn Riverside’s 182-pound senior surprised those who doubted his abilities.
Pedro was at his technical best Saturday, reaching the 4A state semifinals before settling for third place at Mat Classic XXXII in the Tacoma Dome.
“I didn’t get to be state champion like I wanted to, but I’m proud of how I came out and wrestled,” Pedro said after handling Emerald Ridge’s Kaden Martin in a 9-5 decision for the bronze. “It’s probably the best I ever wrestled.”
Pedro stormed into the semis, where he lost to eventual class champion Isaac Clark of Puyallup by technical fall late in the third round. He recovered to earn a 9-4 decision against South Kitsap’s Logan Stafford in the consolation semifinals before meeting Martin for a bout to decide third place.
Pedro finished a satisfying season 27-7 with a regional title.
“Everybody underestimated me in all the years I’ve been wrestling,” he said, “and I like proving people wrong.”
Pedro was one of three Ravens who made the podium after two days of action at the packed dome. AR sent six individuals to Tacoma.
Jaden Cassel (35-8) – last year’s state runner-up at 113 pounds – finished third at 120 pounds after beating Lake Stevens’ Tyler Fouts by technical fall early in the third period.
Pedro’s cousin, junior Christian Pedro (34-8), wound up fourth at 195 pounds.
Bumpy, rewarding ride
Auburn Mountainview’s Kahlil Walker took a blow to the head in his fifth-place matchup against Eastmont’s Adrian Vivanco, but he battled on, refusing to buckle to his persistent opponent at 138 pounds.
Temporarily shaken, Walker returned to the circle and gave up a two-point takedown in the first period, the only points in the match. After scoring two close decisions to reach the semifinals the day before, the Lions senior dropped his next two bouts and salvaged sixth, his first podium visit in three tries at state.
“It’s not where I wanted (to finish), but that’s OK,” said Walker, who ended the season 28-7 with a regional championship.
Walker gave it his best shot.
“When that kid (Vivanco) stepped in, he popped him right in the head … and it kind of caught him off guard a little bit,” said Lions coach Jay McGuffin. “It was a nice throw, and (Walker) scrambled out well and didn’t give up any back points. We knew that was going to be a grind of a match.”
Walker is looking to continue his wrestling career at Highline College.
“He’s still hungry and loves the competition,” McGuffin said. “Most importantly, he is going to college and get that education.”
Auburn sent four to the state mats over the weekend, with 182-pound Mason Rowland (37-5) coming away with a seventh-place finish. Rowland, a junior, won three of five bouts, pinning Redmond’s George Matusevych at the 2:27 mark to make the podium. … Chiawana took the 4A team title. Auburn Riverside finished 11th.