Community Sports

Meet the local wrestlers competing in Mat Classic this weekend

Posted on February 16th, 2024 By:

Mat Classic XXXV, the state wrestling championships are upon us this weekend, Feb. 16-17, at the Tacoma Dome. This tournament brings together the state’s best wrestlers and a large contingent of local participants will compete.

The following is a list of local competitors from Peninsula and Gig Harbor high schools who survived and advanced through tough conference and regional competitions.

Peninsula assistant coach Mark Nichols and Gig Harbor head coach Blake Moser provided a brief description of each local wrestler.

Peninsula girls

Olivia Griffin, 100 pounds, junior, 36-13: “She will stalk her opponents on her feet and threatens them with turns from every direction when she’s on top. Griffin has shown excellent durability and understands multiple techniques.”

Georgina Johnson, 105 pounds, sophomore, 28-16: “She is equally active from neutral, but can be particularly sneaky on the bottom as she continually keeps the motion going and is always looking for reversals and escapes.”

Peninsula High girls wrestlers competing at Mat Classic this weekend.

Paige Powers, 120 pounds, freshman, 34-16: “Paige is a tall wrestler for her weight class and is difficult to take down. Her reach and pressure on top will keep her in the match against the toughest of opponents.”

Kylie Michalke, 125 pounds, senior, 25-14: “Kylie stays in great position and gives very little opportunities for her opponents to take advantage. Once on top … she’s usually lights out.”

Mira Sonnen, 140 pounds, junior, 33-7: “Mira placed third at state last year and she has vastly improved. She’s a student of the sport and works hard to build on her skills in all positions. She is a strong contender for a state title.”

Bailey Parker, 145 pounds, sophomore, 32-1: “Bailey has only lost one match all season and she’s a well-balanced wrestler on her feet or on the mat. She is a very intelligent wrestler that is another serious threat for a state title.”

Lindsey Shipp, 155 pounds, sophomore, 36-14: “Lindsey’s growth as a wrestler has been tremendous this year. She has consistently been a top placer in tournament competition and is capable of doing the same at state.”

Gig Harbor girls

Ellanor Nimrick, 100 pounds, sophomore, 29-3: “Ella is very well rounded but excels when she’s on top. She has a really good work ethic that allows her to out-work most of her opponents. She is quick and determined and has a really good chance of winning a state title this year.”

Ellanor Nimrick of Gig Harbor

Peninsula boys

Justin Phipps, 120 pounds, senior, 35-7: “He will be making his third trip to the state tournament after winning the regional championship this week. He has previously finished 6th in 2022. Justin frequently smothers his opponents on top and earns near fall points through his unorthodox style that catches opponents in precarious positions when they least expect it.”

Bryce Tillman, 120 pounds (alternate), freshman: “Is hoping for an opportunity to compete this weekend after placing sixth at regionals. He is a tenacious wrestler who never quits on the position and if he gets a chance to wrestle, he could surprise a few people.”

Marcus Reum, 144 pounds (alternate), senior: “Marcus qualified as an alternate and is waiting in the wings for a chance to wrestle in the dome again. He is very a talented and strong wrestler who placed seventh last year at the state tournament.”

Nehemiah Grandorff of Peninsula

Nehemiah Grandorff, 150 pounds, sophomore, 33-11: “This will be Nehemiah’s first appearance wrestling at the dome. He is quick on his feet and demonstrates great body awareness, rarely finding himself out of position. He has realistic goals for wrestling in the medal rounds.”

Caden Wate, 175 pounds, senior, 32-15: “Tall and wiry for the weight class, Caden’s style can present a challenge for his opponents. He has long arms and can frequently reel in leg attacks that other wrestlers simply cannot reach.”

Joaquin Antoine, 215 pounds, junior, 24-10: “He defeated an opponent who had beaten him twice before to secure a spot in the state bracket. Joaquin will draw on his strength and conditioning as he hopes to advance in the bracket.”

Gig Harbor boys

Jack Greer, 106 pounds, freshman, 27-8: “He is a really good freshman that has been able to pull off some big upsets so far. He has long levers and is really solid on top against most competitors. He finished first in regionals and is looking for big things at state.”

Juan Mateo, 106 pounds (alternate), sophomore: “Juan took 6th at regionals in a very talented class. He is solid in all forms and has gotten better wrestling against Greer in practice. If anyone gets hurt at state, he will be ready.”

Gig Harbor boys participating in Mat Classic this weekend.

Jonah Edmund, 120 pounds, junior, 22-10: “He is our two-time state qualifier that will probably place this year. He’s  come into his groove lately and will give anyone he’s going against a tough match because he has a good ability to scramble and he’s really strong for his size.”

Liam McDermott, 132 pounds, junior, 32-10: “Liam’s strength is in the neutral position and being able to consistently get takedowns. He’s very strong for his size and really tough. When he gets in trouble he’s usually able to get reversals and has come out on top against some very good competition this season.”

Liam McDermott of Gig Harbor