Sequim’s wrestling squad is taking two wrestlers to regionals after battling through a tough sub-regional tourney in Port Angeles last week.
Sophomore Aleah Chen won all but one match to take third place in the girls’ 145-pound weight class, while Noah Eveland also took third in the boys’ 285-pound division on Feb. 2.
“Both of them won by pin which was kind of surprising,” Sequim coach Rich Hay said. “Some of the wrestlers you think are going to come through don’t and sometimes the ones who do are a bit of a pleasant surprise.”
Chen opened with a pin of Port Angeles’ Tatum-Mae Edmondson in 1:04 before getting pinned in the quarterfinals by Elizabeth Bibb of Evergreen-Seattle. Chen rebounded with three wins in the consolation bracket, including a first period pin of teammate Petra Bernsten, a 9-3 win over Kaylena Canstaneda of Spanaway Lake and a 30-second pin of Tricion Jeffrey-Artis of Bethel in the consolation final.
Eveland, also a sophomore, needed just 10 seconds to pin Emmett Phenix of Bremerton in the quarterfinals. After getting pinned by weight class champ Wylee Rice of North Mason, Eveland again needed just 10 seconds for a pin, downing Michael Alter of Bremerton in the consolation semifinals, Eveland capped off his tourney with a pin of Olympic’s Rashun Oliver.
The pair move on to regional tourneys next weekend, with Chen competing at Decatur High School in Federal Way and Eveland at North Mason High School in Belfair, both on Feb. 9.
Sequim had several athletes come close to regional berths. On the boys’s side, SHS sophomore Zach Koch went 3-1 with two pins before dropping a decision to Port Angeles’ Jackson Larson (who finishd third) in the consolation semifinals and forfeiting his fifth-sixth place match because of a knee injury; he finished sixth overall, one place off regional alternate.
Koch’s run included a 6-4 overtime thriller over Anthony Widmer of Liberty-Issaquah in the consolation quarterfinals.
“I definitely feel I’ve improved (this season),” said Koch, who is in his third year wrestling.
Sophomore Logan Laxson, wrestling at 182 pounds, edged out Port Angeles’ Trevor Shumway 4-2 in the consolation quarterfinals, a match that came down to the final seconds. Laxson lost his matches to the weight class’ third- and fourth-place finishers and, like Koch, was injured and unable to wrestle in the fifth-sixth place match for regional alternate.
Sequim senior Ben Castle picked up a win at the 170 pounds with a second period pin of North Kitsap’s Jassiah Smith before dropping a pair of matches, missing out on a placing by one win.
Also on the boys’s side, Sequim’s Trevin Oakes (106 pounds) and Jakob Pyeatt (138) battled tough opponents and both went 0-2.
The Wolves were without Murray Bingham, the 170-pound wrestlers who injured his knee earlier this season in a match against Port Angeles.
With a lot of new, young wrestlers on this year’s Sequim boys team, coaches have taken a more deliberate approach in practices, Koch said.
“The slower pace has helped me practice moves better … and learn new things,” he said.
On the girls’ side, Sequim’s Bernsten (145 pounds), Alexi Rampp-Taft (120), Kaydence Hilliard (125) and Jordan Hegtvedt (135) each went 1-2 in their respective weight divisions.
Bernsten picked up a first period pin of Port Angeles’ Edmondson before being bounced from the tourney by Chen. Hilliard topped Evelyn Villalobos of Lincoln (Tacoma) in the quarterfinals before dropping two matches, and Hegtvedt pinned Isis Leonard of Bonney Lake in 3:19 before dropping a match by pin to eventual weight class champ Jalia Williams of White River. After a loss to open the tourney, Rampp-Taft had a pin of Port Angeles’ Trinity Laws in 1:18 before getting knocked out by Evelisse Granados of Washington.
Brooke Hodges also competed for Sequim at 152 pounds, going 0-2.
Hay was pleased with how the boys/girls dual tournament format worked at Port Angeles.
“I was glad to have the girls here,” Hay said. “It was nice to have the boys and girls here at the same place. I think the kids like being together, the boys and girls enjoy supporting each other. That’s big for us because we have our boys and girls working together (in practice).”
White River took the sub-regional girls team title with 245 points, followed by Spanaway Lake (137.5) and Lincoln (123); Bremerton was fourth. Sequim placed 18th