Submitted to the Renton Reporter by Hazen coach Rory Magana
The Hazen Highlander wrestling team competed at the boys and girls Region II Championship on Feb. 10.
The boys sent four individuals to the tournament fared well by placing eighth as a team, securing three bids to the 4A State Tournament, and an alternate spot.
Leading the way was Kevin Klein (145) who placed second in his weight class. Klein pulled off an upset against Kentlake’s Alex Lopez with a come from behind surge in the last 30 seconds which resulted in a lead change and a fall. Lopez, a 2017 state placer had beaten Klein in overtime in January. Klein would go on to lose in the finals to Mount Si’s Spencer Marenco, but will be given the advantage of matching up with a No. 3 seed from another region at the state tournament.
Dino Bui will represent the Highlanders at 132 pounds after placing third. Bui, who coasted in his first round matchup, lost in the semi finals to Tahoma’s, highly ranked, Cameron Hanson. Bui would go on to win his consolation semi final matchup to punch his ticket to the Tacoma Dome.
Bui also pulled off a redemption win against Kent-Meridian’s Bryan Nguyen in the third place match — who beat Bui by one point earlier in the season.
Quan Ly placed fourth at the Region II Championship and will represent the Highlanders at the 4A state tournament at 120 pounds. After some massive shakeups in the 120 pound bracket, Ly would wind up facing the No. 2 seed out of the North Puget Sound League.
Following suit for the Highlanders on the day Ly would pull off a huge win to solidify his spot at state. Ly would move on to lose in the consolation finals to Skyline’s Max Huff, who had beaten him earlier in the day.
Liviu Chirica who was one of three athletes to take advantage of the NPSL’s true fourth wrestle off to get in to the Region II Tournament, just missed a top four placing after going 2-2 on the day. Chirica will be an alternate at 170 pounds after placing fifth.
The Highlanders girls wrestling team sent two athletes and an alternate to the Region II Girls Championship fought hard, but failed to push any athletes through to the state tournament. Angela Ortiz, who represented the Highlanders at 140 pounds, fell just one match short of placing. Elly Veldez represented the Highlanders at 145 pounds, and Hazel Parada was an alternate at 170 pounds.
The girls team, which has grown tremendously looks to have a bright future. With numbers that have doubled over the last year. The Highlanders are young and hungry, will aim to return Tacoma next season.