Redskins edge Wolves in final season mat match

Let the second season begin, and not a moment too soon for Sequim’s mat masters.

The wrestling Wolves (1-6 in Olympic League matches, 2-12 overall) capped the regular season in Port Townsend Jan. 23 with a 39-35 loss to the host Redskins, though both teams held out wrestlers at several key weights thanks to injuries and illnesses.

“It was a very good outing for us given that four of our starters were not in the line-up,” Sequim coach Len Borchers said following the Wolves’ final tune-up before their Feb. 2 sub-regional meet.

In Port Townsend, Sequim took wins in four of the non-forfeited matches, three by pin and another by technical fall.

Heavyweight Thomas Gallagher picked up his 15th pin of the season with a 51-second victory over Chris Kimball, running his season personal mark to 16-8.

Sequim’s Keller Batson (215 pounds) pinned Chris Fetterman with 20 seconds left in the first round, proving that injuries that had kept Batson sidelined for nearly all of the season may have subsided.

Wolf Dalton Ackley picked up his first varsity win with a pin of Stuart Monks in the 145-pound weight class.

Sequim state hopeful Joe Hutchison earned a technical fall of Redskin Josh Holbrook, 20-3, extending Hutchison’s season record to 25-7.

At 130 pounds in the match of the night — one that provided the difference in the team score — Sequim’s Nick Grinnell and P.T.’s JJ Blake battled into triple overtime before Blake won out, 12-10.

As in previous matches, the Wolves forfeited the three lightest weights, plus 152- and 189-pound weight classes with Alex O’Donnell and Ethan Hinton both battling illnesses. Port Townsend forfeited at 125 and 140 pounds.

The Wolves return to Port Townsend for this weekend’s sub-regional tournament, competing against wrestlers from Port Townsend, Klahowya, North Mason and Kingston. 

Wolves prep for sub-regional tournament

The road to state begins somewhere around here.

The top four placers in each of the 14 weight classes at Port Townsend’s sub-regional tourney move on to the regional tournament at Fife High School in Fife Feb. 8-9. The top three wrestlers in each class at regionals earn berths at the state championships Feb. 15-16 in Tacoma.

Sequim earned two No. 1 seeds (Hinton at 189 pounds, Batson at 215) and four No. 2 seeds in preliminary sub-regional seedings.

Borchers, who noted there may be changes to the seedings thanks to injuries, illnesses and academic problems, said, “I think we came out pretty good (seeding-wise).”

Without any entrants at 102, 112, and 119 pounds, Borchers figures it will be difficult for Sequim to repeat as sub-regional champs. With nine top seeds between them, Klahowya and North Mason figure to be the top teams.

“We’ll try to sneak by P.T. for third but we need some upsets,” Borchers said.

Here are Sequim’s prospects at each weight class, minus three weights where the Wolves have no wrestlers, along with the top seeds in each class.

• 125 pounds — 1. Sasha Jantze (King), 2. Taylor Gowdy (Seq), 3. Ammon Jensen (Kla). Jantz is a returning state placer, and he gets the nod here against Gowdy, a state competitor last year, for the top spot. “We saw (Jantze) at the Bainbridge Tourney and he is good,” Borchers said. Gowdy split with Jensen this season and is coming off a week of the flu. Sequim’s Alex Lamb is seeded fifth.

• 130 — 1. Jared Hendon (NM), 2. John Hays (Kla) 3. JJ Blake (PT). Sequim’s Grinnell is fourth here but is a former state qualifier. If he can shrug off injuries and illnesses that have plagued him all season, he may move up. Sequim’s Travis Tamblyn, who racked up a 13-0 record in junior varsity matches, is seeded seventh.

• 135 — 1. Neil Sell (Kla), 2. Joe Hutchison (Seq), 3. Mitchell Fortner (NM). Hutchison and Sell are as close as they come, talent-wise, and it will likely be those two for the top seed to regionals. “If he stays a bit conservative he will be champion,” Borchers said. Dalton Wilson of Sequim is seeded eighth.

• 140 — 1. Joe Sawyers (Kla), 2. Anthony Drabek (Seq), 3. William Rosen (Kla). Big questions loom here, particularly for Drabek and his bum shoulder. If any wrestlers from the top four slip, fifth-seeded Paden Sutterby of Sequim has a chance to advance.

• 145 — 1. Karl Neumann (Kla), 2. Jesse McQuillan (NM), 3. Alex Dickson (King). Sequim freshman Dalton Ackley is seeded fourth here and just picked up his first varsity win. Neumann will easily take first here, Borchers said, with little competition. Kawika Yasamura, another Sequim frosh, is seeded seventh.

• 152 — 1. Danny Zimny (Kla), 2. Brett Johnson (PT), 3. Alex O’Donnell (Seq). A tough weight for O’Donnell after jumping three classes, he’ll have his hands full with either top seed. O’Donnell has wins against the No. 4 and 5 seeds in the weight class this season but has been pinned by both top seeds this season as well.

• 160 — 1. Steven Nelson (NM), 2. Steve Weaver (PT), 3. McCallister (NM). North Mason’s Bulldogs have the studs here. Sequim’s Mike Bereiter, seeded seventh here after posting one win in 19 matches, is likely a year away from a regional seed. “He’ll move up the charts next year,” Borchers said.

• 171 — 1. Christian Dubois (PT), 2. Richard Hanna (PT), 3. Donny McCarty (Kla). Sequim’s David Copeland has a hamstring injury and is seeded sixth here, but may surprise some people if he’s close to 100 percent, Borchers said. The Sequim grappler leads the team in second-/third-round pins. Copeland lost an 8-6 decision to Hanna earlier this season. “He is probably our most improved wrestler from last year,” Borchers said.

• 189 — 1. Ethan Hinton (Seq), 2. Gatlin Hanna (PT), 3. Ian Brown (King). A sickness kept Hinton out of the final match of the year but he figures to dominate this weight class.

• 215 — 1. Keller Batson (Seq), 2. Robert Vandling (NM), 3. Brett Harkness (Kla). Batson is undefeated against league opponents this season and there’s no reason to expect any change on his way to regionals. He’s pinned the No. 2 and 4 seeds. “With the senior thing working for him, I expect to see him in the finals,” Borchers said.

• 285 — 1. Jared Rinehardt (NM), 2. Thomas Gallagher (Seq), 3. Gage Leigh (King). Borchers figures it all comes down to Gallagher and Rinehardt for this weight class’ top seed. He already has beaten Leigh of Kingston in the Rainshadow tourney, a 1-0 decision.

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