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Young Wolves battle at Rainshadow
After drawing as many as 20 teams in tournaments past, Sequim’s annual Rainshadow Tournament pulled just six teams to the area in 2012 and 2013.
And while that may not be an ideal situation for grapplers seeking top competition, it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing for the inexperienced Wolves, said coach Charles Drabek.
“Obviously, we’re a young team. For the level they’re at, we did pretty good,” Drabek said. “It gave them a boost of confidence (and) a taste for what it’s going to start to look like in the postseason.”
Sequim saw two wrestlers take individual titles — Royhon Agostine at 126 pounds and Nick Moroles at 138 pounds — while Brandon Field (132) and Luke Mooney (145) placed second and four other Wolves earned top-four finishes.
North Mason, one of Sequim’s Olympic League rivals, took top honors. Other competing teams included Bremerton, Port Townsend, Clover Park and Port Angeles’ junior varsity squad. (Port Angeles’ varsity squad competed at the Bonney Lake Classic.)
“The level (of competition) was down a bit but I felt like all the teams were on a level playing field with each other,” Drabek said.
North Mason’s Bulldogs saw three grapplers earn individual titles and another four place second.
Agostine, ranked No. 11 in the state 2A classification by washingtonwrestlingreport.com, wrestled with an injury earlier this season but seemed to overcome that to take the 126-pound weight class at the Rainshadow. He topped teammate Nick Kovach 18-5 in the semifinal and handled North Mason’s Kyler Hockaday 13-0 in the title match.
Moroles earned a pin of Clover Park’s Saul Araujo and fended off North Mason’s Jackson Odette 3-0 in the final.
Mooney, who was coming off a title-winning performance at the North Mason Classic in Belfair on Dec. 29, wrestled at 145 pounds, one weight class heavier than the 138-pound class where he’s ranked No. 12. As in last year’s Rainshadow tourney, he matched up with Clover Park’s Devon Johnson in the finals. In 2012’s tourney Mooney pinned Johnson. This time around, however, Johnson edged Mooney 9-7 in overtime.
“Tough match at the end,” Drabek said. “This (kind of match) helps you grow.”
Drabek said he was impressed Mooney wanted to wrestle up a weight to see better competition.
“It’s nice to see he wants to get mat time against good opponents,” Drabek said.
Field earned pins of Port Angeles’ Branden Currie and Jakob Rylie before falling 10-2 to No. 11-ranked Jon Day of North Mason in the 132-pound finals.
Sequim’s Michael Latimer went 3-1 at 195 pounds to take third, with his only loss coming in a second round pin to No. 5-ranked Darius Taylor-Jones of Bremerton.
Sequim’s Nathan Allison had two wins at 220 pounds for a fourth-place finish.
Despite a less-than-stellar win-loss record, Sequim’s female grapplers saw plenty of matches, Drabek noted, including Sophia Cornell (106-pound weight class), Emily Halverson (120), Kaylee Ditlefsen (132), Ashley Baltrusitis (132) and Amariah Clift (285). “That (experience) will help them match up when they go to those all-female tournaments,” Drabek said.
The Wolves host Olympic League foes Kingston tonight, Jan. 9, and North Mason tomorrow night, Jan. 10, before competing in the large Bainbridge Island Invite on Saturday, Jan. 12.