Redmond High’s wrestlers may have locked up their second straight 3A KingCo dual-meet championship, but the upcoming postseason will bring some of the most intense matches of the year their way.
The mat will surely be a spot where male and female grapplers from all schools will take their physical and mental games to new heights and let their emotions flow.
“They’re proud of it,” Redmond coach Robert Kaneko said of the Mustangs notching a 7-0 league record and 19-3 overall mark at press time. “They really haven’t done any celebrating. They’re focused on the KingCo tournament this weekend. We’re not done.”
Next up on the docket is the 3A KingCo tournament, which will take place on Friday and Saturday at North Creek High in Bothell.
Redmond has a plethora of top wrestlers in Josh Medvinsky (26-8 at 145 pounds ), Carson Lui (25-5 at 160), Molly Williams (25-7 at 115; she’ll drop to 110 for the postseason), Jeremy Hernandez (24-2 at 152; he’ll drop to 145), Alex Folta (24-4 at 195), George Matusevych (20-9 at 182; he’ll drop to 170), Shannon Curran (23-12 at 105), Jobe Zuniga, (17-5 at 132) and Leah Hiatt (14-8 at 115; she’ll drop to 110).
On the inspirational side, Cole Anderson at 152 and Talia Heywood at 155 have been solid to work with, Kaneko said.
“As a coach, you look at that — that’s success,” he added about the latter two wrestlers.
Hernandez (145) and Williams (105) were Redmond’s top finishers last year with fourth- and seventh-place finishes, respectively, at the Mat Classic state event at the Tacoma Dome.
On Hernandez, coach Kaneko said he’s athletic and talented, and “Like the others, he works his tail off day in and day out. It’s all coming together for him at the right time.”
Williams experienced quite a turn-around of events when she faced Federal Way’s Anjilia Sumandig at a pair of tournaments this month. At the Lakes tournament on Jan. 20, Williams lost, 1-0, in the semifinals to last year’s fourth-place state competitor. However, a week later, Williams knocked out a 5-1 win over Sumandig in the final at the Kamiak tournament.
To prepare for the Kamiak tourney, Kaneko said the coaches worked with Williams on putting a couple of pieces into place with her technique. Unlike the first matchup with Sumandig, Williams got out from underneath her opponent and sharpened her takedowns.
All Redmond’s wrestlers have been focused on displaying match speed and intensity in practice and carrying those skills into meets.
“Practice is kind of grueling, it’s hard work. To see them find success with it in competitions is super gratifying,” the coach said. “I see these kids working with a purpose, working together to get better every single day.”
Kaneko graduated 12 wrestlers last season and thought this would be rebuilding year. Think again.
“The kids proved us wrong. They were kind of champions from the get-go. They haven’t really faltered from that,” he said.