Five Mountaineer grapplers take home medals at Mat Classic

Rainier boys place sixth, girls finish 19th


The Rainier High School boys and girls wrestling team had a historic weekend at the Mat Classic XXXV at the Tacoma Dome, with three boys and two girls taking home medals. 

Junior Zander Peck was the school’s highest placer, finishing second in the 157-pound division after earning two victories before falling to champion Jared Haden from Chewelah. Seniors Matthew Kenney (215 pounds) and Ryder Cruse (285) placed fourth and sixth, respectively. Senior Katherine Kinahan took home a fourth-place medal in the 190-pound division, and junior Keira Anderson placed sixth in the 170-pound division. Kinahan is the highest placing female wrestler in the program’s history; after losing a close match to start the tournament, she bounced back with a bye and three straight wins.

Jacob Scott (106), Emma Desotell (110), Connor Power (150), Rudy Garcia (157), Dorien Cano (165) and Blake Roberts (215) also helped their team score points at the Mat Classic. Cano and Roberts each won their first match before falling in the quarterfinals. Ryleigh Cruse (235) also attended as an alternate.

Overall, the Rainier boys finished sixth out of 39 schools, and the girls placed 19th out of 69. Head coach Chris Holterman said the boys earned their highest finish since they placed fifth in 2001. These were also the first medals earned by Rainier girls since 2010.

“I want to thank all the wrestlers who showed up daily to work their tails off, the largest group of wrestlers that Rainier has ever had,” Holterman wrote in a Facebook post after the Mat Classic. “Not only did these kids work incredibly hard, but they also held to our core values: be a good teammate, be positive, and do your best in all things. Thank you wrestlers for being an example of what we stand for.”

Holterman highlighted Ryder Cruse’s hard work to return from knee injuries, including a torn ACL last summer. He wrestled for the first time in over a year at the end of December and proceeded to place at state less than two months later.

“He worked his tail off to get back on the mat. All things considered, Ryder had a good tournament,” Holterman said. “His knee was really sore and he was struggling Friday night, but he battled through it and made it to day two.”

The longtime Mountaineers coach also said he was proud of Kinahan and Kenney, who struggled at previous state tournaments but were motivated to place in their senior year.

Rainier started the season with 24 boys and 21 girls and finished with 22 boys and 18 girls. Holterman said he was proud of not just the state participants, but also the wrestlers who tried the sport for the first time.

“The learning curve was steep for them. They buckled down, got to work and picked up what they needed to compete,” he said. “We saw such tremendous growth.”

The Mountaineers will celebrate their season with a banquet in a couple weeks, Holterman said. He added that the team is already looking forward to returning to the Dome next year.

“We should be excited that the drive to place at state next year has now begun. We should be excited for those wrestlers who will be returning next year to get better and to punch their ticket to the Dome,” Holterman said. “It was a great season. It was a fun season, and I am truly blessed by all those who are a part of the Rainier wrestling family.”