Some of the Wolf Pack held strong last weekend as the competition heated up at the sub-districts tournament in Port Angeles.
Three earned the right to wrestle at regionals — Royhon Agostine, 126, Luke Mooney, 138, and Kailee Ditlefsen, 130 — with the boys in Bremerton and Ditlefsen in Battleground.
Sequim also sends two alternates, Brandon Field, 132, and Sophia Cornell, 106, who took fifth place in their weight classes. Each must equally prepare for the slight chance of an opening to compete.
Mooney faced possibly the stiffest competition against three-time state champion Jake Velarde (34-1 in season matches) in the finals on Feb. 2. He moved up the brackets with an 8-0 decision against North Mason’s Jackson Odette and pinning Klahowya’s Connor Veach, who took third.
“I did some risky stuff,” Mooney said in his match with Veach. “I went in really wanting to pin him. I had a 50/50 chance.”
Before his finals match, Mooney (17-7 on the season) predicted the outcome humbly against Velarde.
“I’ll get destroyed but have fun doing it,” he said.
Velarde pinned Mooney in the second period at 3:33.
Coach Charles Drabek said the finals match was crucial for Mooney’s chances later on.
“It gives him a taste of what it takes to be at the top,” he said.
Last year, Mooney took third in regionals to advance to the MatClassic tournament where he went 1-2.
Agostine, a junior, returns to regionals in a bigger weight class after placing fourth in Port Angeles. He faced Nikkita Weston of North Kitsap in a second-round loss (10-7) pushing him to the consolation bracket. He surged to pin his next three opponents, leading to a rematch for third place, but Weston won with a 16-5 major decision.
Last year, Agostine finished sixth after dropping his three matches at 106, including a 17-15 physical match with White River’s Lucas Doll for fifth place.
Both Brandon Field, fifth place, and Derek Allen, sixth, competed well in the 132-pound consolation bracket. Following first-rounds wins, they lost their next matches but rebounded to win two in a row each before losing to the third- and fourth-place finishers. The duo faced off for the fifth-place alternate spot and Field won in an 11-5 decision.
Coach Jake Reichner said the first round went great for the team as only one wrestler was eliminated.
“Taking guys into the second round was a little bit more rough,” he said.
At 145 pounds, Kevyn Ward and Brett Wright each won one match before elimination. Ty Jones, 152, and Peter Lajambe, 182, lost two matches, and Nathan Allison, 220, and Brady Young, 285, won one and lost two.
Ditlefsen may be a repeat wrestler at the state tournament this year. She took second at regionals by winning a 16-0 tech fall and then a 32-second pin in the second round to reach the finals. She was pinned by Montesano’s Rebecca Odegard in the first period.
Ditlefsen took third overall in the 124-pound weight class at the regional tournament last year for a berth at the MatClassic where she lost all of her matches.
Sophia Cornell, 106, goes to regionals as an alternate by pinning her opponent in the second round before losing to her Rochester opponent.
Teammate Emily Halverson went to regionals last year going 1-2 but missed the cutoff this year.