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Puyallup 2-sport teammates share Mat Classic limelight

Defensive line football mates in the fall, wrestling-room training partners in the winter — and now this.

Puyallup High School’s Matt Voss and Trent Nivala are Mat Classic XXVI champions — together.

“Crazy to think,” Nivala said.

A winner by pin in 5 minutes, 9 seconds over Kentridge’s Daniel Vi in the 285-pound championship finals at Class 4A, Nivala became the school’s seventh different state champion.

And Voss? He survived a close call with Mead’s Mason Ju, 5-4, in a battle of unbeatens at 220 to become the Vikings’ first two-time state champion.

“I got to watch my good friend right after me,” Voss said.

Despite giving up a good 50 pounds, Nivala had a much easier time winning.

And the ending happened so fast. With both wrestlers locked up, Nivala attacked and turned Vi in one big swoop, putting the Chargers’ big man on his back for a quick pin midway through the final round.

“I could tell (Vi) was getting tired. The whole match, he was breathing heavy,” Nivala said. “I threw … a cow catcher on him. For most of my pins, that is kind of my move.”

Voss and Ju are longtime combatants, dating back to their youth wrestling days, so the two of them know each other’s attacks very well.

The defending state champion had a 4-2 lead in the third period, but Ju took him down right in front of the scorer’s table to tie the score with 40 seconds remaining.

Ten seconds later, Voss escaped — and stayed on his feet for a 5-4 win.

“I did not expect an easy match,” Voss said. “He is strong and always in good position. He never puts himself in danger.”

Other storylines:

 • To say that Bethel’s Logan Bearss was a bit of a riddle for Rogers’ Brandon Brenenstahl would be an understatement. Of all the wrestlers the explosive Rams’ standout has faced, Bearss is able to shut down Brenenstahl’s high-flying moves the best.

And in the past two weeks, Bearss beat Brenenstahl in close subregional and regional finals.

But after a few flurries of action, Brenenstahl found the opening early in the second period of the state 152 final and unloaded on the Braves’ junior, twisting him through the air and onto the mat for a stunning pin in 2:48.

“I knew if I could get movement, he would make a mistake,” Brenenstahl said. “And I saw it and got it.

“I had the mindset I was going to win and be a champion. Ever since I was 4, I have been dreaming of this.”

 • Yelm’s Darren Harris settled on being a dominant state champion in 2013-14.

The Tornados’ junior came into the 120 championship match having won all 34 of his matches by pin. No wrestler in the South Sound has ever pinned his way through a season, and Harris won’t be the first – he won, 5-0, over an unwilling Bryson Beard of Central Valley.

“He knew I was working for the pin, I think,” Harris said. “When the referee blew the whistle, he didn’t really make a move. He gave me the first move.”

Todd Milles: 253-597-8442 todd.milles@thenewstribune.com

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