By Pierre LaBossiere
Olympic Peninsula News Group
TACOMA — Forks’ Sloan Tumaua is a state heavyweight champion and the Forks boys wrestling team had its highest team finish since 2014, coming in second place among 1B/2B schools at the Mat Classic held Feb. 17-18 at the Tacoma Dome.
Forks, which usually places in the top 10 at state, hung tough with state team champion Tonasket over the weekend, but in the end, Tonasket had a few more wrestlers get past the semifinals, garnering 202.5 points to Forks’ 156.5.
Tumaua, the nephew of Forks athletic director/wrestling coach Kyle Weakley, won his state championship at 220 pounds. He got a first-round bye, then a pin in the quarterfinal against Hans Miles of River View 14 seconds into the first round.
Tumaua won with another pin in the semifinal, this time late in the third round against Damien Spears of Liberty Bell. He won a close, tough 3-2 decision over Granger Sutton of Tonasket in the championship match.
“It feels surreal,” Tumaua said Sunday. “It still doesn’t feel real yet.”
Tumaua has been through a lot with the Forks program. He placed fourth at the Mat Classic last year and didn’t get a chance to wrestle at state in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic
“I never thought I would get here,” he said. “Now that I’m here it feels awesome.”
He didn’t come to the Mat Classic simply to see how well he could do. He had a much bigger goal in mind. “I came here to win it all,” he said. “I knew I had a chance.”
Tumaua is just a junior and plans to go for a second state championship next year. Sutton is a senior and Tumaua won’t have to face him again. He also thinks the team as a whole will be strong again next year. “A state championship … I think it’s really possible. We’re going to get better.”
Tumaua is also a discus thrower for Forks track. As with wrestling, he finished fourth at state last year in the discus. “I have a good chance to win that [at state], too,” he said.
Forks had a total of nine boys and girls place. Weakley was proud that two of the kids who placed — Kevin Camacho-Roldan and Kaleb Blanton, were only in their second year of wrestling. Two Forks girls who placed — Miley Blanton and Lillianna Galeana — were first-year wrestlers.
“First-year wrestlers, you just don’t see it very often,” Weakley said. Weakley said head coach Daniel Frishkorn also deserves a lot of credit for the team’s success this year. Forks won an astounding nine tournaments this season. As Tumaua pointed out, the Mat Classic was the only tournament the Spartans didn’t win this year.
Weakley said the Spartans were actually a little ahead of Tonasket until the semifinals. Tonasket was able to send five wrestlers into the finals, while making it to the championship match for Forks was Tumaua and Camacho-Roldan.
Camacho-Roldan at 132 pounds won with close decisions over Storey Woodbury of Goldendale (12-9) and Angel Cruz of Warden (11-8) in his first two matches. He was pinned in the second round of the championship match by Wyatt Elias of Oroville.
Jesus Garcia-Dominguez at 113 pounds and Conner Demorest at 126 pounds both finished third for the Spartans. Garcia-Dominguez won with third-place match with a second-round pin over Xavier Smith of Ilwaco. Demorest won his third-place match with a 3-1 decision over Devin Boone of Columbia.
Finishing fourth was Nate Dahlgren at 182 pounds and coming in fifth was Walker Rondeau at 132 pounds and Kaleb Blanton at 152 pounds.
Winning matches and scoring team points for the Spartans were Braden Camacho at 120 pounds, Colton Hunt at 138 pounds, Walker Wheeler at 145 pounds, Aiden Ivey at 160 pounds and Sebastian Qunneke at 195 pounds.
The other top finish from the Olympic Peninsula was by East Jefferson’s Mi Amada Lanphear-Ramirez, who came in third at 115 pounds in the Girls 1B-2A tournament. This year with more girls wrestling, the girls were split up into smaller schools and big schools, so local girls didn’t no longer have to go up against 3A and 4A wrestlers at state.
Lanphear-Ramirez won her third-place match with third-round pin of Jada Hernandez of Warden.
Also for the girls, Forks had a solid Mat Classic with Galeana placing sixth at 105 pounds and Miley Blanton sixth at 120 pounds.