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February 27, 2014

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Lady Hawks get uniforms Page 14 THE VALLEY U THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2014 BY KURTIS J. WOOD I Antonio Melendez became the ninth wrestling cham- pion in school history after winning the 1A 160-pound weight class at Mat Classic XXVI. The senior capped his season with a 30-3 overall record, a gold medal and used his patience to grab an early lead in each of his matches in the Tacoma Dome. He stuck with what he knows and even forecasted his title after his final practice at QHS Feb. 19. He wrote on the white board in the wrestling room: "Tonio was here @ 9:28 p.m. Wednesday. Won't be back until state champion." This wasn't Melendez being arrogant, but confident heading into his final state championship run. "It's more belie Just knowing I'm capable of pushing my body in ways I can't imagine," Melendez said after his title match. "Today is when I figured that out. "It was just more of a goal I had in m) In the finals, he faced Blaine's Jon Stewart and won 3-1. There wasn't much room for error in the match, but Melendez had not given up a takedown since late Decem- ber. His patience to assess his opponent and score when needed was nothing short of perfection. "I only shoot when I'm ready," Melendez said, but he heard coach Greg Martinez telling him how much time was left on the clock throughout the tournament. "I hear Martinez yelling at me and I realize I only have a few seconds," he said. He scored takedowns three times in the final seconds over the weekend. Melenz picked up nine takedowns, two reversals and two escaS, while his opponents had 11 escapes, one penalty point and arare two-point nearfall. Agains Stewart, he was able to score in the final sec- onds ofthefirst round to take a 2-0 lead. It was this kind of scoring which i/npressed Martinez. "Like the trip at the end of the first round," he said. "He's so patient. He's like in slow motion." To reach the finals, Melendez opened the tournament with a 10-5 win over Eatonville's Dylan Mann. He scored a pair of takedowns in the first period, added a reversal and a takedown in the third and a fourth takedown in the Antonio Melendez became the ninth state champion in QHS history. Kurtis J. Wood/Post-Register final frame for his I 0 points. The win moved him into the quarterfinals against Montesano's Kylar Prante, where he was put to his back in the second round and was facing a 3-2 deficit. But he quickly escaped and took back control of the match and won 5-4. "I didn't come in mentally prepared. My body is sore and so is my mind," Melendez said. "It's one of those things where the devil is on your shoulder." But as they say, a win is a win. He moved on to the semifinals, where he faced Chewelah's Connor Fulbright. Melendez won 6-4 after scoring either a takedown or a reversal in each of the three rounds. "I was ready for this match," he said. He also started facing repeat opponents, who know his style and try to keep the score close. Melendez defeated Fulbright 14-2 last week at the regional championships. "The kid made adjustments," Martinez said. "That's what they do against 'Tonio'. Try to keep it close. "It's business as usual for Tonio." -. That's his mentality. After he defeated Stewart 3-1 in the finals, Meledenz stayed in character, acknowledged the Quincy fans, went to his knees and put his head to the. mat. A few seconds later he leaned back, pointed briefly toward the sky and that was his celebration. "Wrestle hard and leave it on the mat," he said. "I don't need to showboat. Just prove it on the mat?' 2014 empieza el 22 de Marzo. Dos vueltas. ]uegos: Local y Visita llame: 509.831.3856 Mancinez- 509.831.5972 509.831.5848