TACOMA - Both Squalicum's Luke Jordan and Blaine girls' wrestler Olivia Adams entered Mat Classic XXVI looking to put an end to their Tacoma Dome woes.
Jordan wanted to end his 10-year wrestling career by overcoming the state participant tag that's been attached to his name the past two years. He wanted to medal this time, and hopefully, win a state title.
Adams, the Borderites' lone girl wrestler, had similar aspirations following back-to-back seasons of leaving Tacoma with a pair of 1-2 records.
Finally, their breakthrough came.
"It still hasn't hit me yet," said Jordan, his smile beaming. "I just tried to wrestle smart and good."
Twenty five of Whatcom County's 61 wrestlers medaled Saturday, Feb. 22, but besides three who competed in state championship bouts, no one matched Jordan's and Adams' third-place medal efforts.
Jordan could've wrestled one of two ways in his 120-pound class following a devastating last-second, semifinal-round defeat to Orting's Ben Gore.
His options were to wilt once his dream of winning a state title ended or battle back, win two matches and take third.
Jordan recovered quickly from his defeat and advanced to the third-place match by earning a pin against Sumner's Nathan James in 2 minutes, 30 seconds.
"Coming back and pinning the kid was great, because always after losing in the semis, it's a tough road to third place," Jordan said.
The Storm senior backed his pin with a 2-1 double overtime win against Sedro-Woolley rival Adam Adkinson.
Jordan scored an escape in the first overtime to take the lead and prevented Adkinson from getting out of his bottom position in the second overtime period. Jordan let out a yell and pointed to his cheering section following the dramatic victory.
"Great career-ender, winning it in double OT," Jordan said. "Beating him and finishing my career like that was great. Just knowing my hard work the past 10 years has paid off, all that blood, sweat and tears, you know."
Adams also overcame her share of adversity. In fact, she reeled off four straight wins, which spanned from her third match Friday night, Feb. 21, during the opening round, to Saturday's last match.
Adams earned two pins along the way, a 7-5 decision and scored a 13-7 come-from-behind win over Washougal's Haven Camden during her third-place bout.
"It feels pretty good. I'm happy that I got to place this year," said Adams, who also won a pole vault state title last spring. "My whole team is here, and they are really encouraging."
Adams was referring to the boys' team, which was contending for a 1A state title, and coach Craig Foster carved out time to watch and give advice during her third-place match.
Trailing 6-0, Adams tied the score with an escape, takedown and three-point near fall. The match was tied at 7-all before Adams scored six straight points in the back half of the third period to seal her 130-pound third-place medal.
"She knew what was coming, and she really countered it really well," Adams said, "but in the end my head-and-arm really worked well."
Mount Baker boys' wrestler Travis Lindsey (170 pounds) and girls' wrestler Nicole Boardman (124) highlighted the day for the Mountaineers.
Lindsey won a triple overtime match over Royal's Darrin Miller following a semifinal defeat, but the Baker senior settled for a fourth-place medal after losing 6-4 in overtime to Montesano's Anthony Louthan during the third-place match.
Boardman gave the Baker girls its highest placer. She earned a fifth-place medal in her first trip to the Mat Classic with a 26-second pin of Eastmont's Morgan Jones.
"My goal was to place higher than I was ranked," Boardman said. "I was ranked seventh, so I made my goal. I was thinking to myself, 'This is the last match I'm ever going to wrestle,' and I really wanted to win."
The Baker girls, who believed they had an outside shot of winning a team title, sat in seventh place with 54 points before Saturday night's championship matches.
Other Baker placers were boys' wrestler Alex Ray (182), who took eighth, and girls' wrestlers Natalie Smith (118) and Jessica Mata (137), who each placed seventh.
Nooksack Valley, which sent six wrestlers to state, turned in a strong tournament. Three of the four girls placed, including Alex Parson (112), Kylee Dekoekkoek (155) and Chloe Gardner (145), who wrestled for a state title.
Dekoekkoek finished with a 4-2 record and snagged a fourth-place medal, while Parson went 3-2 and finished seventh.
Pioneers boys' wrestler Paul Newell (126) took home an eighth-place medal.
Rounding out the Whatcom County girls' medalists were Sehome's Lisa Hernandez (235), who placed fourth, and Lynden's Gabriela Herrera (124), who finished eighth.
The Ferndale boys' wrestling team entered Mat Classic XXVI with a goal to crack the top 20, but was striving to reach the top 10.
The Golden Eagles rested in 17th place with 37 points before championship matches were wrestled Saturday.
Isaiah Heredia (113) gave Ferndale its top finish with his fifth-place-medal performance. Klinton Maassen (182) finished in sixth, Chris Hernandez (285) took seventh and Hunter Grunhurd (195) placed eighth.
Reach Andrew Lang at email@example.com or call 360-756-2826. Follow @bhamsports on Twitter for Whatcom County sports updates.
Reach ANDREW LANG at firstname.lastname@example.org or call ext. 862.