ELMA - Jake Pederson, Matt Bonney, and Jerry Matzen will be packing their wrestling togs for the state Mat Classic XV in Tacoma next weekend on the strength of their second-, second-, and fourth-place finishes at Elma Saturday. Matzen and Bonney both return to the big match and for Pederson, this will be his first visit to the Tacoma Dome as a participant.

Derek Duffy placed sixth at regionals in Elma, good enough to help Ilwaco finish in 10th place as a team, but one victory shy of returning to the Mat Classic as he did last season in class A.

Bonney, wrestling in the 189 classification, won by fall against his first two opponents, pinning Hoquiam's Justin Ladue in 4:07 and Rochester's Gabe Warren in 1:33. In the finals Bonney was defeated by Kyler Stewart of Tenino by a count of 11-2. Bonney enters state competition with a 23-4 record.

"Jake (Pederson) caught a break and took full advantage of it," Coach Tom Hornbuckle explained. Pederson faced number one seed, Ray Pouncy of Rochester in his opening match and, according to Hornbuckle, was promptly thrown out of bounds after the whistle by Pouncy. After a warning, Pederson and Pouncy again went outside the mat area and upon their return, Pouncy again was unsportsmanlike and had to be disqualified 14 seconds into the match.

Pederson then defeated Ridgefield's Matt Miles in the 275 class by a score of 10-1. In the finals Ken Mace of White Salmon pinned him in 2:50 to move Pederson's record on the year to 21-8. Pederson had finished fourth in League and his move up to second in Regionals was a well-deserved improvement.

Matzen in the 119 weight group defeated Tenino's Steve Caldwell 10-4, but was pinned in 1:48 by champion, Tyler Draper of Ridgefield. In the match to qualify for state, Matzen shutout Gabe Chavez of Hoquiam 11-0, before dropping to fourth by losing to Aaron Carr of LaCenter 2-8. Matzen's record is now 18-8.

Derek Duffy could be called the heartbreak kid, as he lost his final two matches by scores of 2-4 to LaCenter's Josh Martinez and 1-2 to A.J. Creek also from LaCenter and in overtime. A victory over Martinez would have put Duffy back in the Mat Classic. Duffy was pinned by Scott Lytle of Hoquiam in 1:10 of his initial match and defeated Dave Simmons of White Salmon 6-5 in his second bout. His season ends with a sparkling 20-9 record.

Mat Classic XV will begin at 10 a.m. Friday and run through Saturday at the Tacoma Dome. There will be four classifications and 24 mats being used simultaneously at the colorful extravaganza. Wrestlers will be seeded by finish at the various Regions, so Pederson and Bonney will draw number three seeds as they placed second and Matzen will face a Regional champion in the opening round. "Two wins on Friday and a wrestler will earn at the very least a place at state, but two losses and you could be finished for the year," Hornbuckle explained. "No matter how we do next weekend, these four guys have already accomplished a great deal for Ilwaco's wrestling program the past couple of seasons."

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