TACOMA - Ferndale coach Caleb Schlack rounded his Golden Eagles up at their team hotel between the morning and evening sessions on day one of Mat Classic XXVI on Friday, Feb. 21, at the Tacoma Dome.
He had a message for his group after Ferndale's 11 state wrestlers went a combined 1-10 during opening-round matches.
"We've had mostly wins in our second round," 113-pound wrestler Isaiah Heredia said midway through the evening session. "Our coach took us to the hotel and was like, 'For you seniors, it could be your last match ever. And for everybody else, we brought 11 guys here...'"
Following Ferndale's 10 losses, only three of them went two-and-out. At the end of the day, Heredia, Klinton Maassen (182 pounds), Hunter Grunhurd (195) and Chris Hernandez (285) put themselves in the medal rounds Saturday, Feb. 22, after battling back to win two matches.
Heredia's medal-sealing win was arguably the most impressive.
Leading 5-4, the Ferndale senior hurt himself by pulling his opponent's thumb back, which gave him a technical penalty, costing him a point to pull the match even with only 2.6 seconds left.
But in a flash, after the reset, Heredia rose to his feet from his bottom position and gained just enough separation from Kamiakin's Tyler Almaguer to earn a dramatic 6-5 decision.
"It feels amazing, especially from last year," Heredia said. "It was my second year wrestling. I made it to state and went two-and-out right away."
Heredia, who lost his first match and was forced to win back-to-back to earn a medal, said he told himself he was getting on the podium midway through his second match.
"I just remember thinking in my second match, it was one of the hardest I have ever had in my entire life," he said. "I just remember thinking, 'You either go broke, or you make something for yourself and get on that board in the wrestling room.' I decided I was going to fight my hardest, because it could have been my last match."
Heredia's first win, his second overall match, was a victorious 10-9 decision.
Hernandez and Grunhurd also had to win two straight to keep their season going.
Grunhurd beat Mountlake Terrace's Brett Potter with a 7-5 decision for his first win before pinning Lincoln's Jeremy Lukosh in 4 minutes, 55 seconds.
Hernandez beat Kennedy's Eddie Benge with an 8-1 decision and then followed with a hard-fought 2-1 decision over Timberline's Cole Stevens.
Maassen was the lone Golden Eagle to win his opening-round match. He lost in the quarters but bounced back with a 5-1 decision over Mercer Island's Tanner Ranz.
Reach Andrew Lang at email@example.com or call 360-756-2862. Follow @bhamsports on Twitter for Whatcom County sports updates.
CLASS 3A FERNDALE (Wt.) Rnd. Opponent (School) Result Brock Graves (106) First Michael Campiogotto (Peninsula) L4-1 Cons. first Brandon Roberts (Mt. Spokane) L pin 2:33 Isaiah Heredia (113) First Blake Llarnas (Hanford) L 4-1 Cons. first Ruslan Dzhumaniyazov (Kelson) W 10-9 Cons. second Tyler Almaguer (Kamiakin) W 6-5 Devon Bennett (120) First Nico Laiuppa (Timerline) L pin 4:57 Cons. first Kairan Payton (Kelso) L pin 4:26 Adaeus Wilson-Premo (126) First Andrew Ramierez (Lakes) L TF 22-7 Cons. first Derek Nichols (Hazen) W pin 3:10 Cons. second West Weinert (Stanwood) W 10-4 Ben Broselle (145) First Zach Goddard (Peninsula) L pin 1:51 Cons. first Nathan Spires (Mountain View) L TF 20-5 Taylor Bellefuille (160) First Mario Gonzalez (Prairie) L 10-2 Cons. first Colton Deleon (Kamiakin) W pin 4:45 Cons. second Logan Coleman (Glacier Peak) L 18-4 Charnjit Mattu (170) First Keidrick O’Bannon (Lincoln) L pin 1:49 Cons. first Luke Middelstadt (Praire) L 3-1 Klinton Maassen (182) First Syd Springberg (Mountlake Terrace) W pin 5:34 Quarters. Wyley Stewart (Enumclaw) L 8-6 Cons. second Tanner Ranz (Mercer Island) W 5-1 Hunter Grunhurd (195) First Tyler Duncan (Praire) L 11-2 Cons. first Brett Potter (Mountlake Terrace) W 7-5 Cons. second Jeremy Lukosh (Lincoln) W pin 4:55 Patrick Condon (220) First Tim Smith (Meadowdale) L pin 5:20 Cons. first William Willsley (Lincoln) W 6-3 Cons. second Dan Coulter (Timberline) L pin 3:45 Chris Hernandez (285) First Jeff Weyland (Hanford) L pin 1:15 Cons. first Eddie Benge (Kennedy) W 8-1 Cons. second Cole Stevens (Timberline) W 2-1
Reach ANDREW LANG at firstname.lastname@example.org or call ext. 862.