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Friday, February 13, 1998 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Wrestlers Get Ultimate Inspiration -- Ultimate Fighting Champion Motivates Woodinville Team

Seattle Times Eastside Bureau

Woodinville High School wrestlers believe they have the perfect remedy for a disappointing fifth-place finish at last weekend's KingCo 4A Conference championships.

They'll get a visit from the ultimate wrestling coach today at practice.

Randy Couture is the Ultimate Fighting champion of the world. He won his title in Japan Dec. 21 in an octagonal ring surrounded by a six-foot chain-link fence. In ultimate fighting, the only rules are no biting and no eye-gouging.

Couture is a former state wrestling champion from Lynnwood High School and is a Greco-Roman national champion at 198 pounds.

He knows a lot. And because his son, Ryan Couture, a 135-pound sophomore, qualified for regionals, Randy is flying in from Turkey, where he competed in a Greco-Roman tournament. The elder Couture will help the Falcons train today, then watch his son tomorrow.

It won't be the first time Couture has helped Woodinville Coach Shaker Culpepper this season. And if this workout is like the others, expect the Falcons to be well motivated for tomorrow's Region I tournament at Snohomish High School.

"The whole team is all silence and they listen to everything he says," said senior Isaac Amondson, who won the league title at 215 pounds. "We were pretty much in awe. And if we didn't like someone, we'd put one of the sophomores out there with him."

Ryan, one of those sophomores, is experienced in grappling with his father. He visits him in Corvallis, Ore., where Randy lives, for a month every summer. He knows a different, gentler side of his father most of his teammates don't. But he understands the intimidation factor his father has every time he steps on the mat.

"I've known him forever, but if I'd only seen him on TV, he would be (intimidating)," Ryan said. "The first time I saw him was like a culture shock."

The Falcons watched a film of one of Randy's matches earlier this season for motivation. This time, he will be around to motivate them personally.

Bad break

Eastlake junior Andre Pedeferri, who was sixth at last year's Class AAA state meet and won last year's KingCo title at 101 pounds, did not qualify for tomorrow's regional.

Pedeferri re-injured his shoulder, which had kept him out most of the season, in a KingCo quarterfinal victory and forfeited his next two matches to place sixth.

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REGIONAL WRESTLING TOURNAMENTS

Class 4A Region I

When - Saturday.

Where - Snohomish High School.

Session times - 10 a.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. (championship finals).

Tickets - $6 for adults, $4 for students with ASB cards, $2 for 12-and-under children.

What's at stake - Top three in each weight class qualify for Class 4A state championships Feb. 20-21 at Tacoma Dome.

Team favorites - Sehome, Kamiak.

Top seeds - 101, Robbie Songstad, Snohomish, and Eric Bruggeman, Juanita; 108, Floyd Bangerter, Mountlake Terrace, and Michael Salo, Juanita; 115, Tanner Melhloff, Kamiak, and Matt Wyman, Inglemoor; 122, James Warren, Oak Harbor, and Chue Cha, Lake Washington; 129, Joe Brannon, Oak Harbor, and Brad Boyle, Inglemoor; 135, Ravil Muhamediev, Sehome, and Tyler Smith, Redmond; 141, Joe Kubec, Marysville-Pilchuck, and Justin O'Brien, Inglemoor; 148, David Farmer, Oak Harbor, and Kyle Smith, Eastlake; 158, J.C. Christiansen, Kamiak, and Andy Sandbo, Lake Washington; 168, Brian Shaw, Marysville-Pilchuck, and John Murray, Lake Washington; 178, Kelly Olson, Cascade, and Matt Miner, Eastlake; 190, Dan Runkel, Cascade, and Andy Willard, Inglemoor; 215, Tad Russell, Sehome, and Isaac Amondson, Woodinville; 275, Brian Cullup, Sehome, and Josh Oncken, Inglemoor.

Class 3A Region IV

When - Today, Saturday.

Where - Ellensburg High School.

Session times - Pigtail qualifying matches, 5 p.m. today; session 1, 7 p.m. today; session 2, 10 a.m. Saturday; consolation finals, 4 p.m. Saturday; championship finals, 5:45 p.m. Saturday.

Tickets - $6 per day for adults, $4 for students with ASB cards. All-tournament passes are $10 for adults, $6 for students with ASB cards.

What's at stake - Top four in each weight class advance to state championships Feb. 20-21 at Tacoma Dome.

Team favorites - Moses Lake, East Valley (Spokane), Sunnyside, Ellensburg.

Top seeds - 101, Chad Mills, Mount Si, and John Sommer, East Valley. 108, Adam Putter, Newport, and Jorge Ruiz, Sunnyside. 115, Mirweis Hazrat, Newport, and Daniel Banister, Ellensburg. 122, Zach Hyatt, Issaquah, and Kevin Woolf, East Valley. 129, David Szczepanik, Mount Si, and Justin Walker, East Valley. 135, Josh Miller, Issaquah, and Marcus Mays, Ellensburg. 141, Terry Lievens, Issaquah, and Brack Crockett, East Valley. 148, Jeremy Torres, Issaquah, and Golden Baker, Moses Lake. 158, Keegan Kutschia, Sammamish, and Brent Burnett, West Valley. 168, Matt DeFranco, Issaquah, and Matt Mills, Prosser. 178, Duncan Hansing, Mercer Island, and Tyson Thivierge, Clarkston. 190, Kyle Siverts, Newport, and Carlos Garcia, Sunnyside. 215, Scott Kang, Issaquah, and Travis Wiser, Moses Lake. 275, Ben Mahdavi, Mercer Island, and Blake Falor, Cheney.

Notable - Competition will be intense. Four teams ranked in state's top 10 will make it very difficult for KingCo wrestlers to qualify for state. Those who do will know they've earned it.

Copyright (c) 1998 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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