Three seconds and two thirds. Those are the top finishes Columbia High boy wrestlers posted last Sat-urday at the WIAA Region 2 Wrestling Tournament in Hoquiam.
Significant? You bet. They mean five CHS wrestlers will be wrestling for state championships this weekend at the 32nd annual Mat Classic in the Tacoma Dome. The top four finishers in all 14 weight classes are moving on, as are alternates who can only hope that someone from their weight class and region withdraws before the State tournament begins Friday morning.
Leading the way for CHS qualifiers is senior Payden Webster. He placed second at 132 pounds and is going to state for the third year in a row. Like his four teammates, he will be seeking his first State medal.
Returning to the Mat Classic for the second consecutive year are senior Jack Kelly (3rd at 138), junior David Durham (3rd at 285), and junior Jose Evangelista Villa (2nd at 195). Senior Bowen Durkee (2nd at 182) will be making his State wrestling debut on Friday.
Webster lost to Forks sophomore Jake Wheatley in the 132 final by an 8-2 decision. Kelly clinched a State berth with a 9-3 decision over Montesano junior Lucas Salstrom in the 138 consolation final.
Durkee advanced to his first regional final to face senior Brent Hollatz of Montesano. Hollatz prevailed by fall at 2:26 of the second period. CHS’s Andrew Risco placed sixth at 182 in losing the match for an alternate position.
Evangelista Villa reached the 195 final with two preliminary wins. He wrestled King’s Way senior Tayler Shega into the third period before falling at 4:41.
Durham pinned Castle Rock senior Jett Johnson at 2:21 to win the heavyweight division’s consolation final. CHS junior Juan Acosta captured fifth place and an alternate position with a first-period pin of Tenino senior Riley Rice.
Senior Cody Eckman won the fifth-place match at 126 pounds by a 10-1 major decision over Hoquiam freshman Logan Avery to secure an alternate position.
Columbia also had a pair of sixth-place finishers at the Region 2 meet. Freshman Noah Roden and sophomore Josiah Nelson lost their fifth-place match at 106 and 220, respectively.
The 1A tournament begins at 10 a.m. on Friday and at 9:45 a.m. on Saturday. Championship bouts in every weight class and all seven classifications will start Saturday at 5 p.m. Visit Mat Classic Tournament Central at wiaa.com for more information.
Friday’s First-Round Matches
132: Payden Webster vs. Logan Wallis, fr., Klahowya.
138: Jack Kelly vs. Nikolai Jensen, sr., Klahowya.
182: Bowen Durkee vs. Keelan Mitcham, jr., Newport.
195: Jose Evangelista Villa vs. Jesse Overton, sr., Deer Park.
285: David Durham vs. Pedro Castaneda, jr., Wahluke.

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