For Sequim, the Battle for the Axe turned into a Battle for Pride.
The Wolves, winless in head-to-head meets this season, started the Jan. 4 tournament in rough fashion, losing 81-0 to Port Angeles, who went on to win the tournament with a perfect 5-0 mark.
Shaun Jones (152 pounds) was the lone Wolf not to be pinned, battling P.A.’s Andrew Harrelson to an overtime, 12-10 loss.
Sequim coach Charles Drabek said Jones, a freshman, hung with Harrelson but lost on a takedown.
“A lot of times you see upperclassmen in that weight class, so we’re continuing to take our lumps for now,” Drabek said. “It’s tough but we continue to compete.”
Michael Latimer (220) was pinned by Kyle La Fritz of P.A. in 3:11, but Drabek said Latimer held his own too with a reversal on La Fritz, the fifth place 2A state finisher last year. However, La Fritz had a reversal of his own to pin Latimer.
Sequim saw its most success in rounds two and three against the Mount Tahoma Bears and White River Hornets.
Latimer got two pins, one in 50 seconds against the Bears and the other in 3:59 against the Hornets.
Several other Wolves got pins, too. Against the Bears, Sequim’s Alma Mendoza won by pin in 1:33 and Sven Wiker won by pin in 5:07. Brady Young won by pin in 0:54 against the Hornets.
Nick Kovach also won with a technical fall (15-0) against a White River wrestler while Jones won in a major decision 8-1 against a Mount Tahoma foe.
While Sequim won a few individual matches, the team continued its winless streak with a 42-39 loss to Mt. Tahoma, a 53-29 defeat to White River, 54-24 to North Mason in round four and 51-22 to Bremerton in the final round.
The Wolves’ only wins against North Mason and Bremerton were by forfeits except for Ty Jones, who won by tech fall 16-1 against a Bremerton wrestler.
One of Sequim’s top wrestlers, Royhon Agostine, was limited to one match in a loss against Bremerton because if he reaches 33 matches before the postseason he won’t be able to compete for state.
Drabek said winning wrestlers all showed improvement at the tournament.
Sequim travels to Klahowya on Thursday, Jan. 11; Klahowya has split its league matches this season.
The Wolves return to Port Angeles on Jan. 14 to face the Roughriders and Port Townsend’s Redskins.
Wrestling for the holidays
Along with the Battle for the Axe, Sequim stayed busy with multiple events over the holiday break.
They sent several wrestlers to the Hammerhead Invitational Wrestling Tournament in Bremerton on Dec. 20 and 21. Agostine went 3-2 and Latimer and Nathan Allison (220) both went 2-2 as the boys placed 30th out of 31 participating teams.
In the girls’ tournament, Kaylee Ditlefsen (137) won her first three matches by pin before losing in a battle for first against Mariah Horton of Kelso 11-1 in a major decision. Mendoza (124) went 3-2 with 3 pins to earn co-fifth place honors. Sophia Cornell (112) almost competed for fifth place but lost in a 7-6 decision to Shiianna Anderson of Hoquiam. Cornell went 2-2 with two pins to help the girls place 11th out of 28 teams.
The following weekend, the team was split at three tournaments — one in Tumwater, the North Mason Hawkins Memorial JV Tournament and the North Mason Classic for varsity.
At the Classic, Agostine took second in the 132-pound weight class finals against North Kitsap’s Nikkita Weston, falling in a 13-8 decision.
Drabek said Agostine avenged an early season loss to Olympic’s Jayden Fernandez with a 9-7 win.
Ditlefsen got a win after being down 16-2, and later won her weight class with a pin, too.
“The place erupted,” Drabek said. “I think she (Ditlefsen) is starting to feel confident and is working hard to improve all aspects of her wrestling. She’s not relying on one move to win it all.”
At the JV meet, no Wolves placed but Drabek said he was pleased to see Jones back wrestling after he was injured in the football season. Jones went 1-2.
Ditlefsen and Cornell both went undefeated for first place medals, too.
“All the girls seem to be picking it up and I am excited for what they will do come postseason,” Drabek said.
In Tumwater, Jones, Kevyn Ward and Grant Pierson went 1-2.