Oly's Yeik settles for 2nd at Mat Classic

Olympic's Branden Yiek, who in 2008 won a Class 3A state wrestling championship at 130 pounds, reacts following his 9-7 loss against Enumclaw's Jason Gray in the 140 state title match at Mat Classic XXI at the Tacoma Dome Saturday.
— image credit: Jesse Beals/staff photo

With his right eye black, nearly swollen shut, and a defending state champion lurking on the opposite side of the mat, the odds were stacked against Olympic's Branden Yeik.

Drawing undefeated Jason Gray of Enumclaw, who in 2008 won a state title at 125 pounds, Yeik fell shy in the Class 3A 140-pound state title match at Mat Classic XXI at the Tacoma Dome Saturday, losing 9-7.

Yeik, also a defending state champion (130), never led in the match.

"It was like David and Goliath," said Yeik, who despite his one-loss record coming into the match, was a heavy underdog.

Gray built a 2-0 lead through one period and went ahead 4-0 early in the second before Yeik tallied a point. Yeik inched within 4-3 at the 1:20 mark of the second, and 5-4 at one point in the third, but that was the closest he got. Gray built the lead to 9-5 with 50 seconds remaining in the third and final period before Yeik cut it to 9-7.

"Branden did exactly what he had to do," Oly coach Steve Polillo said. "He never let things get out of control, and that's what Gray does to guys."

Teammate Jesse Borcherding (125), who Friday set the school record for pins in a single season (24) en route to two victories and a berth to the semis, dropped consecutive matches Saturday before rebounding to finish fifth.

Borcherding, a junior who finished fourth at last year’s Mat Classic, said he was disappointed with the fifth-place finish.

“It’s the curse of the Tacoma Dome, I guess,” Borcherding said.

Check back later for a comprehensive report.

Additional Mat Classic XXI photos are available at

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the Oct 21
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates