Senior Hank "The Tank' Burton will be making his fourth trip to the MATT Classic next weekend to try and bring home some hardware. (File Photo)
Chelan sends six to Matt Classic
Four to compete and two as alternates
By Richard Uhlhorn
“It was a long day that included many, many close matches, but in the end it really came down to who wanted it the most,” said Coach Jay McGuffin about Saturday’s Regional Wrestling Tournament that played out in Tonasket.
Freshman Erick Garcia (103 lbs.) established himself as one of Washington State’s best wrestlers by winning the Regional Championship with a pin. “Little Garcia is just a freshman, but you can tell he has a lot of mat sense,” said McGuffin. “He always knows where his position in and capitalizes on punishing his opponents on top.”
Senior Jose Lopez (119 lbs.) made his way into the Regional finals for the second year in a row. Lopez placed 3rd last year at the MATT Classic State Championships and Coach McGuffin is hoping Lopez will become the first state champion under the McGuffin’s coaching.
“Jose had a rematch with a tough Lakeside kid that he lost to here last year,” said McGuffin. “He beat him at the State Tournament last year.” Unfortunately, the outcome for Lopez in the final was the same this year and Lopez is looking for a chance to get some payback at the MATT Classic. Lopez was ahead in the final and got out of position, got caught on his back and pinned
Junior Adelberth Guillen had to come through the back door to take 3rd place. “This kid has only been wrestling for three years now, but with all the work he puts in, you would think he’d been wrestling all of his life,” says McGuffin. “I was so impressed with D-Bert today. It takes a real gut check and a lot of hear to lose in the semi-finals and then have to come back and wrestle in the consolation semi’s to make it to the State Tournament.”
With only the top four qualifying out of each weight classification to make that prestigious trip to the State Tournament, if is tough to come back through and get into the position to wrestle for third and fourth.
Senior Hank Burton is making his fourth trip to the Tacoma Dome with only one thing on his mind… bringing home some hardware. “Hank has been to the Dome as an alternate twice and as a wrestler once. He knows what the atmosphere is like and he has the ability to get on the podium this year,” said McGuffin. “I”d definitely say Hank, ‘The Tank’ is ready for his grand finale. He’ll go out with nothing to lose and a lot to prove.”
Junior Luis Rodriguez (112 lbs.) and junior Jorge Villasenor (171 lbs.) will be attending as alternates. If something happens to a wrestler in their respective weight classes, they will stand in.
“I’m excited to be taking these two guys to the Dome because they really deserve it. It’s a great opportunity for them to see what the biggest state tournament in the nation looks like as juniors so that next year they aren’t star struck when they come to compete, and yes I said compete because I know after going and watching they will be working their butts off in the off-season to have the opportunity to stand on top of the podium,” said McGuffin.
MATT Classic is the Nations largest high school wrestling tournament. Each classification is allotted four mats and all wrestle at the same time, so it is non-stop action from the beginning of Friday’s matches to the end on Saturday night when the new State Champions are crowned.
GoLakeChelan will be on hand to cover Chelan’s wrestlers as they try for podium finishes.
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