Puyallup High School senior Matt Voss leads by example in every facet of wrestling.
Voss, who has built a sterling career record of 104-5, including a perfect 32-0 this season, isn’t one who seeks attention with fiery speeches and over-the-top mannerisms before or after his matches.
Many show their emotions following big wins, but that just isn’t Voss’ modus operandi.
“I appreciate boisterous people, but I don’t like it when people are boisterous in a negative way,” he said. “That’s taught me that you can be loud, and you can be direct, but you can’t be over the top.”
Puyallup head coach Aaron Lee paid Voss a big compliment last year following Voss’ 5-2 victory against Wenatchee’s Kyle Lesmeister in the Class 4A 220-pound state-title match.
“I never get nervous with Matt, because he prepares so well,” Lee said last February. “Confidence and arrogance are two different things, and Matt is confident because he is prepared.”
Voss is a favorite to repeat as a state champion this year. The two-day Mat Classic event will be held Feb. 21-22 at the Tacoma Dome.
The even-keeled Voss has tried to put last season’s state championship in his rear-view mirror.
“Obviously, there are going to be some people hyping me up, being that I’m a defending state champion,” he said. “I try not to worry about that and just take it one match at a time.”
That attitude has served him well considering he hasn’t lost a match in either of his junior or senior campaigns. All five losses came during his sophomore season.
Voss said he isn’t the only leader in the mat room. Fellow seniors Trent Nivala (285) and Joey Meyer (195) also are team captains.
“We split up the team leadership roles between us,” Voss said. “There is not one single team captain, so there is not as much pressure. We just try to help balance everything throughout our entire team. The shared responsibility helps out our team a lot.”
Voss said the highlight of this season was when Puyallup won the 10-team Sentinel Duals in Steilacoom on Jan. 18. The Vikings went 5-0 and defeated Meridian High School of Idaho 36-26 in the championship match.
“It was just fantastic,” Voss said. “The team just came together, and it was so much fun. The whole crowd was into it, too. It was just an electric feeling. That has been my favorite moment with our team so far.”