Wrestlers to watch at Mat Classic XXXI

With the snow gone (perhaps for now), the Puget Sound region finally has a chance to dig out of the storm that will leave February 2019 as one of the snowiest in the area’s history.

It also means that for the first time in several days, postseason sporting events have the opportunity to resume.

Among those taking place this weekend is the Mat Classic — albeit in a revamped form for this year. Mat Classic XXXI will feature 32-wrestler brackets due to the fact that only one regional tournament took place, the 4A regional in Camas, and even that one was significantly shortened.

This makes it harder than ever to handicap the state tournament. With school out of session Monday and Tuesday, wrestlers have gone some time without any formal practice.

The first session will begin at 8:30 a.m. Friday with two rounds of championship matches and then three consolation rounds for the 3A, 2A and 1B/2B classifications. The action begins for 4A, 1A and the girls brackets at 2 p.m. The finals are slated for 5 p.m. Saturday.

Here are some wrestlers to keep an eye on this weekend.

Xavier Eaglin, South Kitsap, 4A 126 — Last year’s 4A champion at 106 has grown and moved up to 126 this year. He finished second at HammerHead and won first at the Pacific Coast Championships. Eaglin is now looking to go two-for-two at the state tournament.

Robert Gomez, North Kitsap, 2A 132 — The Vikings’ sophomore has had a very good season with a championship at HammerHead and a big win at the subregionals two weeks ago.

Haley Michaelson, Bremerton, girls 140 — The senior is putting it all together in her final season. Michaelson had little trouble with her competiton at HammerHead back in Decemeber, getting a quick pin against Ivy Kraght of Kentwood. She finished third in the state last season at 125.

Anjelo Pangelinan, Olympic, 2A 106 — Pangelinan, a junior, has a nice draw that keeps him away from Horacio Godinez of Toppenish and Caleb Lock of Aberdeen for the first couple of rounds. When he’s on his game, he’s incredibly tough to beat and is stronger after having spent part of the year wrestling at 113.

Logan Stafford, South Kitsap, 4A 182 — Stafford spent his freshman year behind South Kitsap’s large senior class, but has come into his own this year, finishing second at the Pacific Coast Championships and third at HammerHead.

Holly Beaudoin, North Kitsap, girls 120 — The junior is looking to make amends for last year after coming up just short in the 110 finals, losing a 2-0 decision to Olyvia Smith of Zillah.

Ethan Fragoso, South Kitsap, 4A 220 — Three has been the magic number for Fragoso so far this year. He finished third at HammerHead, third at the Pacific Coast Championships and third at last year’s Mat Classic. The SPSL has prepared him well for the tournament — he’s seen Luke Purcella of Curtis and Hunter Hill and Chris Sparks of Graham-Kapowsin plenty this year.

Nouh Hammou, North Kitsap, 2A 195 — Hammou is always a threat to win no matter the competition. He sits at the bottom of the top half of the bracket, meaning he’ll have to get by Jacob Westfall of Blaine to reach the finals.

Micah Lamb, Central Kitsap, 3A 220 — Kitsap’s lone subregional winner in 3A has really picked up his game this year and looks to grab a place at state in his first attempt.

Hayden Steele, Klahowya, 1A 132 — Steele took home third at HammerHead at 132 and then won his subregional. He’ll take on Eli Freeman of Mount Baker in his first match.

The South Kitsap supporting cast —It seems unlikely the Wolves will repeat given their losses to graduation, but they have a number of wrestlers who could surprise at state and keep the team in the running. Peyton Motter (106), Logan McKinney (195) and Deyondre Davis (160) all have the talent to make some noise and pull off a few upsets.

— Mark Krulish is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at mkrulish@soundpublishing.com. Follow him on Twitter @MKrulishKDN.