Foxworthy loses his first match at state tourney

Since losing against Heritage’s Brandon Richardson a year ago at Mat Classic, Matt Foxworthy’s focus has been clear: Become the 12th state champion in the South Kitsap High School history.

And for nearly an entire season, it appeared the state’s top-ranked Class 4A wrestler at 215 pounds would accomplish just that. He entered this year’s Mat Classic with a 34-0 record and 28 pins.

“He’s dreamed about this and worked toward it for the last year,” South coach Chad Nass said. “I’m sure he’s dreamed about it longer than that.”

After winning his first three matches, he was pitted against Central Valley’s Tyler Cochran, whom Foxworthy defeated 14-4 in last year’s state consolation quarterfinals en route to a third-place finish.

But a repeat wasn’t in store this time as Foxworthy lost an early lead — and the title — when Cochran scored a reversal in overtime to earn a 6-4 win Saturday night at the Tacoma Dome.

“I never want to tell anyone I’m 37-1 and tell them which match I lost,” Foxworthy said. “It’s disappointing.”

And with that, he disappeared into the locker room.

He opened Friday with a win against Redmond’s Esteban Herrera by fall in 3 minutes, 8 seconds and then defeated Marysville-Pilchuck’s Tannon Hillis the same way in 3:15.

In Saturday’s semifinals, he earned a 6-1 win against Kentwood’s Sean Staaleson.

That set up the title match against Cochran, who needed overtime to win 12-10 in the semifinals versus Heritage’s Donavon Cunningham.

Cochran trailed 3-0 into the second period, but earned a point when Foxworthy was called for stalling and then tied the match when he avoided a trip attempt and took him down. Cochran then took his first lead, 4-3, early in the third.

Foxworthy tied the match, 4-all, and forced overtime when Cochran was charged with a stall with 26 seconds left.

In overtime, Cochran got the taller Foxworthy off balance and took him down for the win. The two wrestlers frequently were locked up during the match, which frustrated Foxworthy.

“There’s not a lot you can do with a guy who’s going to wrestle you Greco-Roman,” he said. “He won, he’s the state champion.”

Nass said the outcome surprised him — he expected a high-scoring match. And even though he won’t finish his career at South as a champion, Nass hopes Foxworthy views his high-school career as a success.

“He’s got a lot of things going for him,” said Nass, who won the state championship for the Wolves at 141 in 1992. “I know he’s hurting right now, but he’s got a great family, he’s got a lot of opportunities ahead of him. If this is the worst thing that ever happens to him, he’s pretty darn lucky.

“Second place,” Nass concluded, “there’s 14 other guys who would change places with him in a heartbeat. He had a great season.”

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