Sequim grapplers pin P.A.

It wasn't exactly the match-up with Port Angeles that Sequim coach Len Borchers was expecting, but he and the Wolves will take the win anyway.

Sequim wrestlers won five matches on the mat - three by pin - and another four matches by forfeit as they upended their shorthanded rivals 48-28 on

Jan. 8.

It's Sequim's first win of the season (1-3).

"It would have been nice if they had a few more horses in their lineup," Borchers said.

The win was quite a reversal from last year's Sequim-P.A. outcome, one the Roughriders won, 64-9.

Anthony Drabek capped the night with a 34-second pin of David Dawson at 140 pounds, and Zak Huisman's pin of Brian Hergert - a legally blind wrestler - in the 103-pound weight class came near the end of the third round.

It was the 171-pound division and heavyweight division matches that had fans and teammates alike off their seats, however.

David Copeland, a Sequim wrestler who injured his left shoulder at the Battle of the Border tournament in Blaine four weeks ago, was seeing his first mat time since then against Roughrider Joe Pizzuto.

Copeland nearly pinned the Port Angeles foe at the end of round one and had a 9-4 lead after two minutes and 13-8 lead by the end of round two. But Copeland's shoulder began to tire, and Pizzuto worked Copeland for a 15-15 tie after three rounds.

In sudden death overtime, the two wrestlers locked up and went to the mat. Although it looked as if Pizzuto had control, Copeland managed to gain leverage and earned a pin with 1.1 seconds left in overtime.

"My shoulder was killing me," Copeland said, nursing his left arm after the match. He said he was worried about the overtime period because he said he's not particularly good with takedowns.

"David was real gutsy," Borchers said.

In the heavyweight match, Sequim's Thomas Gallagher went head-to-head with John Camp, the state's No. 1-ranked 3A wrestler according to Gallagher muscled Camp to the ground and had the Roughrider nearly pinned just 40 seconds into the match. Camp managed to escape and turned Gallagher on his back for the win.

"You get one mistake and that's it," Borchers said.

Still, the match had the entire gym abuzz with Gallagher's near-win.

"John likes to throw a lot; I think he was expecting me to shoot," Gallagher said. "I wanted to change it up. I personally thought he was pinned. (But then) he got a good shot on me."

Camp said that although he's managed to pin Gallagher each time they've faced each other, Gallagher is improving.

"I was expecting him to be a little more aggressive," Camp said.

After the match, Gallagher tossed his headgear in disgust. As he does after losses, Gallagher sat alone in the crowded gymnasium, deep in thought.

"I try to get away from people and think about my mistakes," Gallagher said. "I usually (don't) make them again. I think putting John on his back (will) help me get to state."

That, Gallagher noted, and training each day with Sequim assistant Kyle Keith, a former state wrestling champion (215 pounds, 2002) should help his progress.

Sequim's Kenny Henning opened the match with a solid, 7-2 win against Forest Emmett while Ethan Hinton continued his strong 2008-2009 season with a 7-0 win against Dalton Williamson.

The Roughriders got pins from Brandon Vaught (160 pounds versus Mike Bereiter) and Nathan Christion (215 pounds against Clay Charlie). But Port Angeles forfeited four lightweight matches, giving Austin Middleton (112 pounds), Ferrol Paulsen (119), Taylor Gowdy (125) and Joe Hutchison (135) default victories.

Sequim is back in action Jan. 14 against Port Townsend, a tough team with strong wrestlers at 152, 160 and 171 pounds. The Wolves then travel to Kingston to take on the Buccaneers Jan. 15.

Sequim hosts North Mason Jan. 22.

Gallagher and Camp may get a rematch Jan. 31 when Port Angeles hosts the Battle of the Axe tourney, Sequim's final nonleague action before the postseason.

"With only six weeks to go until state, we will intensifying our workouts, focusing on conditioning and trying to keep everyone healthy," Borchers said. "The remaining dual meets, especially with North Mason, will give us a reality check going into (subdistricts)."

Wolves second at

Bainbridge Invite

Sequim wrestlers captured their third consecutive top-three tourney finish Saturday after placing second at the 13-team Bainbridge Invite.

Hutchison (135 pounds), Hinton (189) and Gallagher (285) each won individual titles while Gowdy (125), Drabek (140) and O'Donnell (152) each finished second.

Hutchison dominated Port Townsend's Josh Holbrook 16-4 in the finals after topping No. 4-ranked Jamal Mallak of Blaine in the semifinal round.

Hinton improved to 20-2 on the season after edging Brien Jaksha of Forks 3-1 in the 189-pound finals.

It was Gallagher's first individual tournament title.

Kenny Henning went 4-1 and picked up third place at 145 pounds.

Huisman, the 103-pounder, was seventh after going 1-1 and Dakota Hinton was eighth at 145 pounds.

"This was a great tournament for us," Borchers said.

Michael Dashiell can be reached at miked@sequim

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