Hern makes history at state

"Brandon Hern maintains control over Othello's Lance Reichert in the second round of their state championship match Saturday. . Rik Forschmiedt/Vashon-Maury Island BeachcomberHow he wonIt took South Whidbey senior Brandon Hern four matches to pave his way to the championship medal at Saturday's Mat Classic state championship.FridayHern def. Jason Goodrich (Connell) 5-3Hern def. Josh Brewer (Ephrata) 4-2SaturdayHern def. Nick Agee (Ridgefield) 7-3Hern def. Lance Reichert (Othello) 7-4By 9:45 p.m. Saturday, Brandon Hern was dead tired. He sat in a heap, fumbling with a pair of street shoes. His nose was running from a nasty, week-old cold and there were tear stains on his cheeks.He hardly had the energy to run up into the stands at the Tacoma Dome to tell his mother that he was a state wrestling champion.Last weekend the South Whidbey High School junior did what he and his coach only dreamed of five months ago -- he became South Whidbey's first-ever state wrestling champion. Facing off against four of the strongest 171-pound wrestlers in the state over two days at the 2001 Mat Classic, Hern beat all comers to win the 2A championship. The last match in that series, Saturday night's championship test against Othello's Lance Reichert, was the most difficult of his life. Reichert, a senior who had placed second at 171 pounds in last year's Mat Classic, forced Hern to consume every bit of energy and emotion he had. Fighting through a head cold, Hern held a slim, 2-0 lead over Reichert for two rounds before putting the match away with a 3-point near fall. He won 7-4.Afterwards, when he found his mother, Karen Holum, all the excitement and stress of the tournament came out.I cried, Hern said.Meanwhile, his coach, Mike Crebbin, marveled at the road his young wrestler took to the state title. Having compiled a record of 30-1 with more than 20 pins during the season, Hern became the wrestler Crebbin hoped he was at last week's regional wrestling meet. All season, Hern had encountered few wrestlers who could challenge his skills, which left both wrestler and coach wondering how he would perform at the state level.Brandon and I honestly didn't know how good he was, Crebbin said.Hern, who made a state appearance last year but did not place, said the biggest change he had to make at the Mat Classic was to concentrate more on scoring points than winning with a pin. At such a high level of competition, he said, pins do not come easily.The hardest part for me was scoring points, he said.But what did come easily was his desire to win.I wanted it more than they did, Hern said. I was a lot more confident this year.To win his championship, Hern had to beat four senior veterans of previous Mat Classics. In the end, he was the only non-senior to place in the top six in his weight division. He was one of just six non-seniors to make it into the 2A state tournament.Hern's win now goes into the sports history books at South Whidbey High School. No other wrestler at Langley High School or South Whidbey High School has ever won a state championship.Hern did not make the trip to state alone. Senior Bruce Hymas also wrestled in the Mat Classic, making his bid for glory in the 119-pound class. Hymas did not fare as well as Hern. At the Mat Classic for the second year in a row, Hymas lost two close decisions before exiting the tournament. In his first match against Medical Lake's Hien Do, the senior Falcon gave up few points, but scored even fewer for himself as he lost 4-2. His second match, against Grandview's Adam Logozzo, was closer. Hymas held the lead at 4-3 with 30 second to go when Logozzo took him down to score three. Hymas could not come back.His coach said that Hymas, with just two years of high school wrestling experience, could not counter the wrestling knowhow his opponents brought to the mat.That's state, Crebbin said. Next year, Hern and the Falcons will be back at the tournament to try to improve on its 22-point, 25th place team finish this year. Washougal won the meet with 105.5 points. "

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