Meadowdale’s Ball finishes second at Mat Classic | WrestlingMaverick senior loses a 4-3 decision in 182-pound finals
Meadowdale’s Liam Ball came into Mat Classic XXIX as the favorite in the 3A 182-pound weight class.
The senior lived up to all of the pre-tournament expectations all the way to the finals but fell just two points short of winning a state title.
Lincoln’s JJ Dixon edged Ball 4-3 in the championship match Saturday, Feb. 18, in the Tacoma Dome.
“It is what it is,” Ball said. “Second is still great. It’s not what I wanted, but I’m still going home with a medal.”
Dixon came into the tournament ranked No. 2 in the Washington Wrestling Report behind Ball. The Lincoln standout was a two-time state placer.
“I never wrestled the kid before. I knew how good he was,” Ball said. “I know that he’s beaten some kids that I’ve lost to. I’ve beaten kids he’s lost to. I knew it was going to be a good match.”
Ball said he likes to shoot from his left side and Dixon led with his left leg.
“It made it hard for me to shoot on him,” Ball said. “I definitely let a few things slip, a few takedowns slip. I let my cradle slip, just little minor things that the nerves kind of got to me.”
Neither Ball or Dixon scored in the first two rounds. Ball then took a 3-0 lead on a reversal and a penalty point. But with a little over 30 seconds left, Dixon scored a reversal and a near fall to seize a 4-3 lead.
“My goal at the end was to get a reversal and then be up by 1,” Ball said. “Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. … I was ready to go until the last second and it just turned out the way it did.”
Ball opened the tournament with a pin of O’Dea’s Miles Krauter in 4 minutes, 31 seconds and then beat Mountain View’s Alton Culver 10-1 in the quarterfinals on Friday, Feb. 17.
The Meadowdale senior won a 15-8 decision over Yelm’s Derrick Platt in the semifinals on Saturday, Feb. 18.
Ball’s older brother Ciaran also ended up taking second place in the 195 championship match at the 2014 state tournament. Ciaran lost a 5-4 decision in overtime.
Ciaran currently is wrestling at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada and the coaches there would like to see Liam join his brother.
“I’m debating on whether I should or not,” Ball said. “It’s a discussion I’m going to have with my family later.”