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Ng rolls - cautiously - to state title
"TACOMA - It's good that having his mother in the gallery doesn't make Lawrence Ng nervous any more.Last weekend in the Tacoma Dome, there were enough other things going on to jangle his nerves.Ng, a Central Kitsap High School senior, overcame the nervousness and became the Cougars' third straight Mat Classic champion, going 4-0 in the two-day tournament to capture the 103-pound title.His efforts, coupled with those of fourth-place finisher Garrett Jackson (189 pounds) and seventh-place Scott Eickmeyer (125) pulled CK into 10th place in the Class 4A team standings. A fourth Cougar, Jason Mendez, did not place at 130 pounds. Olympic's Matt Cunanan was winless in two Mat Classic matches at 112.Ng, the top seed at 103, pushed his season record to 37-1 by winning Saturday night's final over Mike Rodriguez of Kamiakin. The 3-1 victory was his second overtime triumph of the tournament - he edged Foss' Jamie Shrader 11-9 in Friday afternoon's quarterfinals.The final, against a much-ballyhooed 33-5 freshman who was the second seed, probably didn't need to go to overtime. CK coach Doug Pecha said the single-leg takedown Ng used to score the decisive points early in the sudden-victory extra period was there the entire match.We kept telling Lawrence once he shot his single, it'd be over, said Pecha, who stood with Preston Chadwick in the Mat Classic winners' circle in both 1999 and 2000. But that was two pretty nervous, cautious guys out there. Neither of them were willing to pull the trigger.The reason Ng had so much respect for Rogriguez might've been that the two are so similar.He's built just like I am, he's pretty strong like I am, said Ng, who was the third-place finisher at 101 last year. We both knew the other had the single-legs, so we both wanted to keep the other away from our legs.The result was three rounds of cheek-slappin', head-buttin' and arm-lockin' as both wrestlers looked for openings for their favorite takedown move - openings that just didn't seem to be there.Ng did manage to grab a leg in the first round, but Rodriguez slithered away. In the second, the Kamiakin wrestler seemed poised to score a takedown, but Ng fought his way free with no harm done. The only scoring came on escapes, as each wrestler in the down position at the start of a round battled to his feet and wriggled free.Despite the exhortations of CK assistant coach Jim Northcutt to go get this guy, Ng found himself without a takedown and in a 1-1 tie at the end of regulationEnd it! Northcutt bellowed. Ng did. He shot successfully for Rodriguez' back leg, got leverage and wriggled his way into control to score the winning takedown.I think I wore him down, Ng said. He had blocked everything else, but I got him on that one. It came down to conditioning - I put in a lot of extra work, and it shows.The conditioning he talked about has resulted in a 5-0 record in overtime matches in his career - none more important than the wins Friday and Saturday.When the attention is on you, it's a pretty big thing, Pecha said of Ng, who didn't take up wrestling until his sophomore season at CK. It affects you. You don't want to make a mistake with everyone watching. He was just waiting the whole match. In the overtime, he finally pulled the trigger.Ng pooh-poohed the notion that, because he's a senior and Rodriguez a freshman, he had an edge in experience.I've only been wrestling three years - all these guys have wrestled longer than me, he said. I'm older (than Rodriguez), but I haven't wrestled as much.Ng admitted earlier in the season that having his mother, Helen, in attendance made him nervous during his matches. By the time his second Mat Classic came around, though, he had gotten over it.It would make me nervous because I wanted her to see me do well, he said. But after a while I saw I could win when she was here, so I don't mind having her around.Ng's teammates all won their first-round matches, but fell in the quarterfinals. Jackson rebounded with three straight wins, including a 7-2 decision over Rogers' Luke Kobes, to whom he had lost in both the sub-district and regional finals. He was an 8-1 victim of Moses Lake's Craig Winona in the consol final. Eickmeyer went 2-2 to get to the medal matchup against Jeremy LaRance of Sumner, who he pinned in 25 seconds. "