Haythorne shines for Hazen at Mat Classic XXVI
February 24, 2014
By Neil Pierson
NEW — 2:50 p.m. Feb. 24, 2014
Malik Haythorne’s senior season of wrestling was emblematic of his entire Hazen High School team – growth was evident.
A year after failing to win a match at the state championships, Haythorne nearly wound up capturing a Class 3A state title. He settled for second place at 152 pounds as Mat Classic XXVI wrapped up Feb. 22 at the Tacoma Dome.
Haythorne’s tournament run began with a pin against Decatur’s Christian Aragon, progressed with a 7-5 overtime decision against Bainbridge’s Dylan Read, and reached the title bout with a 12-7 victory over North Central’s Cody Kiourkas.
In the championship match, Hudson’s Bay senior Gunnar Metzger pinned Haythorne in 2 minutes, 37 seconds.
Haythorne, however, was basking in a winning glow for most of the tournament. He wore a big grin after defeating Read in the quarterfinals, a match that Haythorne trailed 5-1 after two periods before he scored the final six points.
He didn’t let failure dominate his thoughts.
“Honestly, there’s always a little doubt, but then when you reassess the situation and stick to your fundamentals, you realize what you’re best at,” Haythorne said. “It all just comes down to who wanted it more, and I think that was me at the end of the day.”
Haythorne beat Read by two points at a tournament in December, so the pair were familiar with each other. At the start of the third period, a technical violation gave Haythorne a point, and he quickly escaped to get within 5-3.
With 30 seconds left in regulation, Haythorne took down Read for the tying points, then repeated the feat early in overtime.
Haythorne’s runner-up finish topped the Highlanders’ six-athlete contingent at Mat Classic. Raven Svenson, a freshman who took seventh in the 155-pound girls division, was Hazen’s only other medalist.
Svenson dropped an 11-9 decision to Lincoln’s D.J. White in the first round, but quickly battled back in the consolation bracket.
She pinned Connell’s Caily Mendez in 2:15, and earned an 11-8 win over Mount Baker’s Aniecea Camacho to advance to the medal round.
At 106, freshman Tyson Mowrey got a tough draw and lost his opener to North Central’s Clai Quintanilla by pin in 1:22.
Quintanilla went on to win the state title, and although Mowrey pinned Franklin’s Lam Tran in 39 seconds, he couldn’t reach the medal round as Peninsula’s Michael Campigotto pinned him in 5:38.
Junior Derek Nichols (126) suffered a similar fate. He drew Shorewood senior Matthew Floresca to start the tourney, and Floresca won by pin in 2:40 en route to the state title. Ferndale’s Adaeus Wilson-Premo pinned Nichols in a loser-out match.
Zach Moore, a junior, finished 1-2 at 138 pounds. He lost 10-8 to Bainbridge’s Jack Miller on a last-second takedown, beat Enumclaw’s Ben Cross 10-1, and lost 6-3 to Shadle Park’s Connor Kerr.
Senior Jairo Barahona (182) lost twice – 11-5 to Peninsula’s Luke Holsinger, and 6-3 to North Central’s Junior Villaro.
Hazen’s season was largely successful, Haythorne noted, as the squad finished second at sub-regional competition and seventh at the Region 3 meet. The Highlanders scored 25 points to finish 30th overall at state.
“Our program is actually growing,” Haythorne said. “It’s starting to look a lot tougher. We’ve been right up there with tough teams. We saw Oak Harbor in a dual meet, and even though they beat us, it was really close. It just shows the program is starting to come together after five years.”
Three Liberty athletes medal
Liberty had three athletes reach the medal podium.
Joanna Moreira, a junior, was among the top-ranked 137-pound girls all season, but had to settle for sixth place after three straight losses to end the season.
Moreira reached the semifinals with a bruising 7-4 victory over Othello’s Phelicia Perez, the type of match that symbolized her season.
“Usually, I go three rounds,” she said. “I rarely pin, and even though that’s kind of iffy, it’s kind of helped me because of my conditioning. I can go three rounds. If I’m tied in the second round, I know I can beat this girl by fitness. I’m conditioned way better.”
Liberty juniors Conner Small and Romney Noel also earned medals. Small took third at 160 pounds, and Noel was sixth at 170.
Kyle Armstrong (120) and Quinn Magendanz (182) also reached state for the Patriots, but neither advanced to the medal round.