After dominating the competition at the 3A Region I Championships last weekend, the is gearing up for a deep run at the Mat Classic state championships this weekend at the Tacoma Dome.
The Islanders were bolstered at regionals by four top-two finishes, including two champions. Fourth-ranked (according to our friends at washingtonwrestlingreport.com) Phil Frazier led the way for Mercer Island, taking first in the 171-pound weight class. Frazier cruised to the regional title with one major decision victory and two wins via pin.
Frazier will take on Jacob Evens of Wilson in the first-round of the Mat Classic. Evens is ranked 11th in the 171-pound division according to WWR.
“Between the top four [wrestlers in the state], he does have a chance [to finish first].” Phil Lercher, who does the 3A rankings for WWR, said.
Colton Knebel, who placed third at the Mat Classic in 2010, also took first in his weight class, winning the 189-pound division with similar ease, starting off with two pins before a major decision victory in the championship match.
Knebel is paired up against Jake Ferris of Wilson. Ferris is ranked eighth in the state by WWR, but faltered in his regional division.
Two Mercer Island wrestlers finished second in their weight classes and have a shot at one of the top-3 spots at state. Kyle Shanafelt, ranked fifth in the state by WWR, finished second in the 13-pound weight division, losing to Kyle Morgan of Sedro-Wooley in the championship match.
Shanafelt will face off against Tyler Weiss of Camas in the first round, in which should be a close match. Shanafelt is ranked fifth by WWR, while Weiss is ranked seventh.
TJ Blackburn also finished second at regionals in his weight class, the 215-pound division. Blackburn lost in the championship match to third-ranked Joe Janicki of Sedro-Wooley.
Blackburn will face Joe Stoutt of Eastside Catholic in the first round.
Freshman Jacob Pruchno qualified for state in the 103-pound division, rebounding after a first-round loss to finish fourth in his weight class. Pruchno will face tenth-ranked Torre Eaton of O’Dea in the first round.
The Mat Classic begins Feb. 18 at the Tacoma Dome. Live updates for all events can be found at http://twitter.com/patchsports