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Reece wins fourth state wrestling title
TACOMA — If there were time trials in the sport of wrestling, Kingston's Bobby Reece III would be a contender for the fastest man on the mat.
The Kingston High School senior won his fourth state championship Feb. 22, in the 170-pound bracket, during the 26th Mat Classic. Reece wrestled 7 minutes 22 seconds, pinning all his opponents and taking the title.
After getting a congratulatory hug from his younger brother, Jorden, Reece expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to compete at the tournament.
"It's just cool to have the opportunity to be here," he said.
Reece pinned Sedro-Woolley's Nate Vaughn in the final match in 1:28 in the first round. The Kingston wrestler used his well-known arm bar, while holding Vaughn down face-first into the mat.
It wasn't much of a question whether or not Reece was focused before the match. As he's known to do, Reece was warming up well before he was set to face Vaughn. Pacing back and forth while stretching, Reece's eyes showed only one thing: a fourth title.
Reece has a "switch he can click on" before his matches, his mother DeAnna said. He has the ability to focus on his goal, she said.
Reece may not have been just focusing on the task at hand. While warming up, Reece looked like he was continually make eye-contact with Vaughn, right up to when the two shook hands before the match.
"Since he was 5 years old, he would make eye contact with his opponent," DeAnna said. In the semi-finals, Reece did the same thing.
The three matches before the finals also included quick wins for Reece.
During his first match, Reece pinned Lake Washington's Eduard Kravchuck in 1:10.
Reece's longest match lasted 3:34 in the quarterfinals against Cheney's Josh Wessels.
In the semifinals, Reece pinned Othello's Jesus Montes in 1:50.
The championship win isn't the end of Reece's wrestling career. In fact, it's another beginning. Reece will wrestle for Grand Canyon University under coach R.C. LaHaye next year.
Prior to the Mat Classic, Reece's father, Bobby Reece, said watching his son finish his high school wrestling career would be difficult.
"It's going to be tough watching it come to an end," he said. "Not just my kid, but all those kids."
Reece's win made him the 12th high school wrestler in Washington to earn four state titles.
Reece brought home the only championship for the North Kitsap School District. However, he was not the only Reece to step onto the podium. His sister, Peyton, a sophomore at Kingston High School, finished second in the 118-pound bracket.
And the two Reece siblings were joined by two other Buccaneers.
Senior Aaron Dickson took third in the 182-pound bracket. Dickson pinned his first two opponents, East Valley's Kenny Martinez and Anacortes' Aaron Tisinger. Dickson lost his third match to Deer Park's Trevor Eicher — Eicher won the championship.
In the second day of the tournament, Dickson battled back in the consolation bracket. He defeated North Mason's Kerrigan Simpson with a 15-5 decision. In the finals, he once again defeated Tisinger with a 10-0 decision.
Also lasting through the tournament was Josh Henden in the 160-pound bracket.
Henden, a senior, defeated West Valley's Drake Ferguson with a 9-7 decision. He then lost to Sumner's Jed Schliesman, 11-9.
Henden came back fighting in the consolation bracket, pinning Ephrata's Bryce Unruh in 2:04. He then lost to Colville's Ryley Smith.
Henden defeated Lakewood's Gage Gilbertson with a 4-2 decision for seventh place.