Sequim’s Royhon Agostine picks up a pin against Kingston’s Austin Gormanson in the 103-pound weight class at the Battle for the Axe tournament in Port Angeles. Agostine is Sequim’s lone 103-pounder heading into next weekend’s Rainshadow Tournament. Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell
Sequim grapplers host Rainshadow tourney
by MARK ST.J. COUHIG
It’s just natural. When brothers get together — cubs, pups or human beings — they end up wrestling. It’s part-play, part-conditioning, and partly a way to learn the necessary art of self-defense.
When Dakota Hinton is on the mat at this weekend’s Rainshadow Tournament at Sequim High, he’ll take with him the lessons he’s learned from his older brother Ethan, one of Sequim High’s best wrestlers.
Ethan, who placed at state twice in his high school career, has taken it to the next level as a member of the wrestling squad at Southern Oregon University.
But Ethan still is teaching his brother, including showing up and participating at Sequim high wrestling practices while on Christmas break.
Dakota shares his big brother’s drive to excel. During the wrestling season, for example, Dakota participates in weight training twice a day, the first session beginning at 7 a.m. It’s paying off, with Dakota so far this season compiling a 15-3 record. He thrives on the challenge, saying wrestling is his preferred sport because “it’s one-on-one. If you make a mistake, you pay for it.”
Gowdys set a standard
Dakota isn’t the only kid brother on the Sequim team with big shoes to fill.
Andrew Gowdy is hoping to better the stellar records compiled by his older brothers Taylor and Anthony Gowdy, Sequim grads who both competed at the state level. Taylor qualified for state three years in a row. So did Anthony, a 2006 SHS grad, who placed twice and finished as high as fourth in state. (Anthony is returning home soon after taking a job as a teacher at Sequim Middle School.)
The two brothers brought complementary emphases to coaching their little brother. Anthony is “more into conditioning,” Andrew said. “Taylor taught me more about techniques.”
Taylor is still on the job: through the Christmas holidays he lent a hand to the regular coaching staff. Regarding Andrew, he says, “I tried teaching him a lot of stuff that will help him improve.”
Which one is the best coach? “Well, it’s kind of even,” Andrew said.
Yasumuras on the mat
The current team features two brothers. Lopaka Yasumura is working hard to one day be as good as his big brother Kawika, a senior who is recovering from injuries sustained in wrestling. Lopaka says he gained a lot of wrestling experience at home. “Yeah, like whenever we’d get mad at each other,” he said.
In the end, Lopaka says, “I learned all the basics from him.”
These younger brothers are part of a young Sequim team that will be seeking to make a strong showing at their own tournament.
They’ll be tested, not least by Nathan Cristion, a Port Angeles High senior, and his younger brother Brian, a sophomore. They are part of a Roughriders team that last week wrestled the “Battle for the Axe” trophy away from Sequim High. Nathan was named the outstanding wrestler in pool one of the Roughriders’ annual tourney.
It’s all in the details
All told there will be nine teams in this weekend’s tournament, said Sequim coach and tournament coordinator Len Borchers. Among those on hand will be longtime wrestling powers Cedarcrest, North Mason and Kingston.
The number of teams is down this year, Borchers said, citing two factors that have come into play.
There are “a lot more tournaments” for teams to choose from, he said. He also noted the budget cutbacks that are taking place in public schools throughout the state are having a big impact. Seattle teams, Borchers said, simply can’t justify the expense of a two-day tournament on the peninsula.
Borchers said it’s never-theless going to be a great tournament and a good show.
“We don’t have a lot of local tournaments, so this is a good time for our fans to come out,” Borchers said.
For wrestling aficionados, Borchers notes, “It’s also a good preview to the big Olympic League tournament.” That tournament will take place in Port Angeles the first week in February.
Nearly 200 wrestlers are slated to participate in the 2011 Rainshadow Tournament, competing in 14 separate weight classes. Each weight class will have a 16-man elimination bracket, with some schools having more than one wrestler competing in a weight class.
Wrestling starts at 4:30 p.m. Friday afternoon and should conclude by 9 p.m. Action cranks up Saturday morning at 10 a.m., with the final bouts scheduled for 4 p.m.
Borchers said Sequim and Port Angeles both have outstanding wrestlers. Among those to watch for are Sequim’s Hinton (171 pounds, 18-4 record), Chris Falkey (189, 15-5), Emilio Perete-Colin (215, 11-6) and Cody Field (145, 12-8).
The Roughriders’ standouts include Josh Basden (103), Andrew Symonds (140), Brian Cristion (171), Nathan Cristion (189) and Jacob Dotsie (215).
Reach Mark Couhig at email@example.com.