By Michelle Dress
Since 1990, when Coach Brian Higa started the ball rolling at Tahoma, the Bears have finished in the top ten at state in 26 of 29 years. Since Coach Feist began his Coaching career at Tahoma (2002) the bears have finished in the top ten at state every single season except for one. This year was no different, with a solid effort by our 9 member state team. The Bears finished in 8th place, ahead of all teams from our league and region.
Our six 2019 State Placers pictured wrestled with heart and determination. An incredible group of young men who are not just teammates but family. They supported each other regardless of outcome time and time again all season. At 120 pounds, Freshman Braydon Hanson placed 8th. Placing as a freshman in the state tournament is a very difficult task, but with Braydon’s determined wrestling style, he found a way to knock off a former state placer to get into the placing rounds on Friday night.
At 126 Pounds, Senior Austin Michalski capped off an impressive career becoming Tahoma’s 6th ever 4-time state placer (3rd in 2016, 2nd in 2017, 3rd in 2018, 4th in 2019). Austin’s overtime semi final match was one of the best matches of the entire tournament with half of the Tacoma Dome focused on the action.
At 138 Pounds, returning Sophomore State Champion Steele Starren battled through one of the toughest brackets at state that Coaches can remember. Steele finished the day in 5th place. One of our most skilled, hard nosed wrestlers, there is no doubt he will be back with a vengeance next season.
At 182 Pounds, Junior Michael Gasper, in just his third year of wrestling, also took 5th place. Michael has put in an incredible amount of time and effort and it is paying off for him on the mat. He gets better every single time he is competing.
At 195, Senior Gage Dress-Moran took 4th place. Gage, a two time past state participant wrestled his best tournament of the season and just at the right time, scoring big points in the back door.
At 220 Pounds, Sophomore Levi Kovacs took 4th place. Levi who was a state participant as a sophomore had a phenomenal year. Weighing just around 200 pounds, he battled and beat many top wrestlers in the weight class during the regular season including both state finalists.
The celebration at the State Tournament brings to close another great year of Tahoma Wrestling. Congratulations to all of the seniors for your dedication to our team and program. #GoBears.