Sequim wrestlers bring home 4 medals

Some tuned out with music. Some read newspaper articles about their competitors. Others dyed their hair.

In the end, the young athletes from the same school and different weight classes managed to stay together.

"They were just really supportive of one another and what they had done." said Sequim coach Len Borchers.

Eight Sequim High wrestlers, seven of them seniors making their final appearance on the mat, took turns twisting, turning and grappling for glory at the MatClassic state wrestling tourney in Tacoma Feb. 20-21.

Four came home with medals for making the top eight, led by the Wolves' lone junior, Thomas Gallagher, and lone female competitor, Sarah Keltonic.

Gallagher, Sequim's 285-pounder, won his first two matches to make the semi-finals before falling in three straight to finish sixth overall. His matches included a loss by pin to Deer Park's Shawn Burton, the eventual state champ.

"To get there his first time (at state) is good news," Borchers said.

Keltonic, also in her first state appearance, earned a first-round pin of Tumwater's Kristina Howell before falling in the quarterfinals of the 140-pound weight class. In the consolation bracket, Keltonic responded with a pair of wins including one pin before dropping a 4-2 decision to Teira Graham of Burlington-Edison. She finished in sixth.

Ethan Hinton, Sequim's 189-pounder regarded as one of the top challengers to possibly topple favorite Reid Chivers of Bellingham, dropped an 8-3 decision to Niels Brisbane of Lynden in the quarterfinals. Brisbane beat Hinton twice at last year's MatClassic.

Hinton, making his second appearance at the state tourney, rebounded to win two of his next three matches and finished seventh overall, an improvement from his eighth-place finish in 2008.

"He did well; Niels is a good quality kid," Borchers said. "On the podium (top eight), Ethan had beat a bunch of them before."

In his third MatClassic, 135-pound entry Joe Hutchison won his first match against Bryce Dresler of Medical Lake before dropping a tough, 11-3 decision to Cameron Wade of Archbishop Murphy in the quarterfinals. Hutchison came back to dump Kenny Houser of Fife 8-0 in the consolation bracket. After an 8-6 loss to Steilacoom's David Flynn, Hutchison beat Dresler again for seventh place. Hutchison was sixth last season.

"Kudos for Joe - he got there twice (in two years) and medaled twice," Borchers said. "There were six placers returning in that weight class. "

Taylor Gowdy (125 pounds) and Anthony Drabek (140 pounds), both in their third MatClassic appearances, won one match but both got bounced in the consolation round.

Alex O'Donnell (152 pounds) earned a win in his first appearance at MatClassic, topping Joel Trujilo of Burlington Edison 12-7 before getting bounced in a two-point loss.

Nick Grinnell (130 pounds) nearly pinned Alex Maldanado of Tumwater in the first round to rebound from a 14-point deficit, but wound up losing both his matches.

Borchers said he was pleased with the team's performance.

As for next season, Sequim figures to have plenty of turnover. These seven grapplers and state alternate David Copeland are graduating, leaving the team with few varsity returnees.

Borchers said he figures Gallagher, normally a rather quiet type, will be the team leader.

"Heavyweights have that impact," Borchers said. "That (leadership role) is something we'll be looking at. It's going to be real young. Hopefully we can get kids involved."

MatClassic notes

Sequim also had four placers in 2001-2002 and 2006-2007 ... with eight grapplers at the state tourney, Port Angeles placed 13th in the 3A team standings, with three making the medal stand ... John Camp, Port Angeles' heavyweight, completed a perfect 40-0 season with 40 pins, downing Mt. Si's Ryan Ransavage in 38 seconds in Saturday night's 3A championship match. In Camps' four wins, Camp wrestled a grand total of three minutes, 22 seconds ... former Sequim coach Mark Fischer guided the Glacier High School Wolfpack (Kalispell, Mont.) to a seventh-place finish at the Montana high school state 2A wrestling championships Feb. 13-14.

How Sequim

wrestlers fared

Taylor Gowdy (125) - 1-2, did not place

Nick Grinnell (130) - 0-2, did not place

Joe Hutchison (135) - 3-2, seventh place

Anthony Drabek (140) - 1-2, did not place

Sarah Keltonic (140 girls) - 3-3, sixth place

Alex O'Donnell (152) - 1-2, did not place

Ethan Hinton (189) - 3-2, seventh place

Thomas Gallagher (285) - 2-3, sixth place

Reach Michael Dashiell at

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