Shawnee Dispatch

Mill Valley senior serious about state title

December 21, 2005

Senior wrestler Matt Westin has one goal this season: win a state title.

Westin has had his sights on a state title since he entered high school, he says, and this year he believes he has the chance to make it happen.


But Westin recently found what could be considered a roadblock at Eudora in the form of Lansing wrestler Sean Flynn. Westin had yet to be seriously challenged all season until the championship match of the Eudora tournament when he matched up with Flynn.

"He kept tying me up and I couldn't get out of it," Westin said. "I wasn't really wrestling my match, my style. I wasn't as aggressive as I'd like to be."

Westin lost the match 4-1, his first loss of the season after starting 11-0. But he isn't going to let the loss discourage him on his pursuit trying to become the first Jaguar to ever claim a state title.

This past weekend, Westin proved that the loss to Flynn only fueled his fire, winning the Johnson County Classic's 140-pound weight bracket.

Westin, who moved to the area from Minnesota before his junior year, is the type of wrestler who keeps getting better as the season progresses.

Last year, he qualified for state and surprised some people with an impressive fourth- place finish. On his way to fourth he upset several wrestlers that had defeated him earlier in the season. Westin is hoping he can do the same to Flynn later this year.

"He's probably the toughest guy in my weight class this year. He's a good scrambler. He's hard to take down and get out of position," Westin said. "He's definitely beatable. I just have to be less nervous and have fun. I was kind of timid wrestling him. I knew he was good so I didn't want to make a mistake and have him counter me."

Westin got away from his strategy against Flynn. Instead of being in the attack mode, he was more defensive-minded. Westin likes to attack and go for the takedown, which he set a school record last year with 56; however, he calls himself a finesse wrestler.

"I don't overpower people with strength," Westin said. "My best move is a fireman's carry. You kind of make them flip themselves."

Mill Valley coach Travis Keal likes the confidence and determination of his senior.

"He wants to win a state championship," Keal said. "He's just one of those kids who works hard. He's a good student, very coachable. He practices hard every day and he's a kid you can count on."

And he's persistent, Keal added. Westin is hoping his persistence will pay off in February, when he is bound to meet up one more time with Flynn, possibly in the state title match.

If that happens, Westin vows he won't make the same mistakes twice.

"I'm just going to be more aggressive and make him uncomfortable," Westin said. "Hopefully he makes a mistake."

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