Seniors finish with flourish

For Taylor Gowdy, the only thing missing Thursday night - except for a big Wolves' win, perhaps - was his brother Anthony, who was away at college.

"He's my biggest role model," Gowdy said, just a few minutes after finishing his final home match with a first-round pin of North Mason's Pedro Joaquin. "He's the reason I wanted to wrestle."

Sequim wrestlers capped their 2008-2009 home schedule with a 42-33 loss to undefeated North Mason, likely this season's Olympic League champions.

Throwing out Sequim's three forfeits, the Wolves won six of the 11 matches, including three by pin and three by major technical falls.

"I just like that (our seniors) wrestled all six minutes - they kept after it," Sequim coach Len Borchers said.

Alex O'Donnell, a senior at 152 pounds, finished his home career in style with a 16-1 technical fall of Bulldog Joe Cotello.

"It felt good - it ended how I wanted it to," O'Donnell said, capping the season with his parents Bryan and Karen in the stands.

"We (seniors) all came together on a different level tonight," he said. "The seniors won; that's the main thing."

At 189 pounds, senior Ethan Hinton continued his pursuit of a strong finish toward the postseason with a 16-1 technical fall of Kody Nelson.

Anthony Drabek, a 140-pound senior, outlasted Mitch Fortner 16-1 after nearly getting pins in the first and second rounds.

Senior Joe Hutchison (135 pounds) improved to 17-1 on the season with a third-round pin of Jared Hendon. With his team down 37-17 in points, Hutchison faked as if he would let Hendon up from the Bulldog's down position, then rolled Hendon for a pin with just 18 seconds left in the match, giving the Wolves three extra team points.

Zach Sisco, the only nonsenior of Sequim's winners, pinned Brian McCarty in the 130-pound weight class in just one minute, 33 seconds.

And then there was Gowdy, a two-time state tourney wrestler who got a little choked up thanking his parents and brother as the seniors said goodbyes to fans before the match.

Once on the mat, Gowdy, the 125-pounder who is 19-3 on the season, attempted a throw on Pedro Joaquin, a strong Bulldog who normally wrestles at 119 pounds. Joaquin put Gowdy on his back for a split second before Gowdy recovered for a first-round pin.

"I was excited," he explained. "I'd never done (a throw) in a match."

Despite his advances to state, Gowdy hasn't made the medal platform (top eight) just yet.

He hopes to make a third trip to state come mid-February and expects a bunch of teammates to come along.

"We have a very strong senior class," he said. "We've all been on the same team together for six, seven years. It's nice to see us peak at the same time."

Sequim (3-4) wrestles at North Kitsap Jan. 27 and travels to Port Angeles for the Battle for the Axe Tournament Jan. 31.

The Wolves then wrestle at the sub-region tournament at Klahowya High School in Silverdale on Feb. 7.

Top wrestlers from the sub-regional tourney advance to a regional tournament held Feb. 14 at Washington High School in Tacoma.

The top three wrestlers from the regional tourney advance to the MatClassic state wrestling championships in the Tacoma Dome on Feb. 20-21.

Match notes:

Sequim's Mike Bereiter lost in overtime at 160 pounds but had a reversal and near fall of Bulldog Eric McAllister to force the extra frame. "He's really improved on his positioning," Borchers said. ... Sequim heavyweight Thomas Gallagher didn't wrestle Thursday night, and not because of a forfeit. Gallagher, 17-5 on the season, said he missed weight by one-tenth of a pound. He's expected to wrestle next week against North Kitsap. ... North Mason won their five matches in a variety of ways: by points, by points in overtime, a technical fall and two pins. ... Sequim senior David Copeland was back on the mat after reinjuring his shoulder two weeks ago. He lost by pin to Ryan Kuhn in the first round. ... Sequim lost to North Mason by a nearly identical score (46-33) last season.

Reach Michael Dashiell at

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