Mariner’s Weaver advances to finals at Mat Classic XXX

Senior standout falls to defending champ
By David Pan | Feb 21, 2018
Photo by: David R Pan Lake Stevens’ Malachi Lawrence (right) lifts Mariner’s Levi Weaver off the mat during the 182-pound finals at Mat Classic XXX Saturday, Feb. 17, at the Tacoma Dome. Lawrence won a 7-4 decision.

Mariner’s Levi Weaver wanted his final high school wrestling match to be his most challenging.

That’s one of the reasons Weaver chose to compete in the 182-pound weight class. Weaver knew there was the possibility he might face defending champion Malachi Lawrence of Lake Stevens at the 4A state wrestling tournament.

The scenario Weaver envisioned became a reality Saturday, Feb. 17, in the Tacoma Dome, except for the final results.

Lawrence defeated Weaver 7-4 in the finals to claim his second straight title at Mat Classic XXX.

Weaver had no regrets about his decision.

“I stayed at 182 just to wrestle him,” the Mariner senior said. “I didn’t want my last match to be an easy one. I wanted it to be tough. That’s what life is like – coming to the challenge and not fraying away from it.”

Weaver took fifth place at 138 last year, while Lawrence captured the 170 title.

“I feel pretty good,” Weaver said of his second place finish. “Compared to last year, I came up three places. I’m pretty happy with it. I wish I could have ended with a win.”

It wasn’t for lack of trying.

“It was a close match,” Mariner coach Max Welsh said. “I think Malachi had a really good game plan. We couldn’t get any offense going.”

Weaver and Lawrence are friends who have trained together before. Lawrence defeated Weaver 10-6 in the Sub-Regional finals two weeks ago.

“I really tried to push the pace and stay careful in what I was doing,” Weaver said. “But at the end of the day he was just better… I wanted to take more shots. I couldn’t really get it. I wasn’t setting him up well enough.”

Weaver opened with a 7-5 decision over Hanford’s Hayden Henry and then pinned Sunnyside’s Moises Morales in the quarterfinals on Friday, Feb. 16. Weaver pulled out a 5-4 decision over Decatur’s Jacob Cassaday in the semifinals to advance to the finals.

In the moments before the match start, Weaver was able to soak in the experience of wrestling for a state title.

“It’s really a good experience – the stands and the lights and the music and the noise,” he said. “I enjoyed it so much, even if I don’t come out a champion.”

At the start of the season, Welsh said that Weaver had a chance to bring home a state title.

“He’s an amazing individual,” Welsh said. “He really stepped up to get to this level… He really rose up and it was a close match. He represented the best he could. That’s all you can ask for.”

Weaver gave credit to Welsh and his former coach Carl Wilkins, who he trained with for many years.

“It’s been a work in progress,” Weaver said. “He (Wilkins) had a huge impact on me as a young man and as an athlete.”

Training partner and fellow state participant Joshua Giron and Weaver pushed each other for four years.

“We’ve been working together and driving to tournaments early in the morning,” Weaver said. “We had lots of hard times and good times.”

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