Sometimes, junior Taylor Gowdy said after a home loss to Klahowya last week, you can’t think about the team score but rather just about your own match.
At this point of the season, that sounds like good advice for the grapplers in purple and gold.
Despite some solid individual performances, the Wolves took their lumps last week, dropping a pair of matches to Olympic League rivals and dropping all three Battle For the Axe Tournament dual matches Saturday afternoon.
“The dual meet format of this tournament was not good for us,” Sequim coach Len Borchers said after watching Sequim fall 48-18 to Forks and 57-33 to Port Angeles in pool play, and 40-27 to an all-star junior varsity squad at the Port Angeles tourney.
Sequim finished sixth out of six teams.
“We knew that going in we would not place in the top three because of forfeits in the first three weight classes,” Borchers said. “We were focused on individual match-ups and getting our guys ready for districts.”
Gowdy, wrestling at 125 pounds, went 3-0 on the day — all on pins — to improve to 22-9. Joe Hutchison went 2-1 at 135 pounds, losing only to Marshall Petrovich of Forks in a 5-1 classic. Hutchison topped rival Jordan Johnson 8-5, including two takedowns in the third period, to improve to 24-7 for the season.
Alex O’Donnell (152 pounds) also went 2-1 after losing his opening match to Forks’ Noee Bojas of Forks; he is 14-6 on the year.
Ethan Hinton picked up a rare loss, dropping a 5-1 decision to Luke Dixon of Forks, but came back to get pins in his final two matches to improve to 15-3 for the season.
Keller Batson picked up two wins in three matches at 215 pounds while Thomas Gallagher (285 pounds) was 1-1 for the day, recording a 46-second pin of Forks’ Joey Salazar and had a 4-3 lead on Port Angeles’ John Camp before getting pinned by the Roughrider 47 seconds into the second round; Camp has just one loss on the season while Gallagher is 15-8.
“We got some valuable mat time for all our starters as well as some of our No. 2 guys,” Borchers said.
Sequim takes on Port Townsend Jan. 23 away before entering the playoff’s first round, the sub-district tournament, Feb. 2.
Eagles spread wings, rout Sequim squad
In the last of Sequim’s meager two regular league matches this season, both of the Wolves’ senior grapplers gave the hometown crowd reason to cheer.
Batson and reserve Travis Tamblyn each earned pins in Sequim’s 54-26 loss to Klahowya Jan. 17.
In what would have been a relatively even match had Sequim been able to put wrestlers on the mat at 103, 112 and 119 pounds — they forfeited them once again — Klahowya proved to be quite formidable, earning pins in all weights between 135 and 171 pounds, including the first five matches of the evening.
Hinton stopped the streak with a pin of his own, stopping Eagle Nathan Viritas in 58 seconds.
Batson, in just his second match back from a knee injury, pinned Brett Harkness with 18 ticks left on the clock in the second round.
“I’m really out of shape,” Batson admitted after the match. “I was trying to get a tech fall but I was too tired. I needed to end it.”
Batson estimated he’s about 60- or 75-percent from normal following his injury.
Said coach Borchers: “Keller, he’s so anxious to get wrestling we’ve got to keep him under control so he doesn’t make a mistake.”
Gallagher followed that up with a pin of Klahowya heavyweight Dominic Cruz in 1:19.
“Thomas just keeps getting better every time he goes out there,” Borchers said.
Sequim closed the team-scoring gap to 30-18, but with the forfeits, the Eagles clinched the match.
At 125 pounds, Sequim’s Gowdy won an 8-6 decision against Ammon Jensen in what proved to be the best match of the night. Down three points headed into the final period, Gowdy earned a reversal and near fall to flip a 6-3 deficit into an 8-6 lead, one he clung to for the final 10 seconds.
“I felt pretty good; I was a little tired after a while,” said Gowdy, a class 2A state tournament competitor in 2006-07. “I’m doing pretty good (this season). I feel like I’ve improved.
Tamblyn, normally a backup to starter Nick Grinnell, earned the start for his final home match and made good, pinning Daniel Veach in the second round.
Hutchison, Sequim’s Wolf with the most wins so far this season, had a brutal match with Neil Sell, rolling into and out of near pins with the Eagle before getting pinned with a second left in the penultimate round.
“Joe is always so exciting but he gets caught in something and sometimes doesn’t get out of it,” Borchers said. “That was the difference.”
Hutchison, who looked as if he were being choked, glared at the referee’s non-call following the final whistle.
In all, Sequim won five of the 11 non-forfeited matches.
Wolves start big week with loss to Bulldogs
Against the Bulldogs last Wednesday, Sequim won the majority of matches wrestled — six of the 10 — but wound up losing thanks to four forfeits.
Batson posted a first-round pin of Robert Vandling at 215 pounds.
Ethan Hinton (189 pounds) continued his spectacular 2007-08 season with a pin of Josh Boyer just nine seconds into the second round.
O’Donnell got a pin in the 152-pound weight division, downing Ryan Kuhn at the 4:47 mark.
Hutchison (135 pounds) got Sequim’s fourth pin, downing Mitchell Fortner in the third round for his 20th victory of the season.
Gowdy posted a win at 125 pounds, earning a technical fall against Sam Newman with a 16-1 score.
Grinnell posted a win at 130 pounds, topping Cameron Crosswhite.
The Bulldogs’ Jessie McQuillian (145 pounds), Steven Nelson (160) and Lonnie Hoover (171) each earned pins while J.P. Knapp downed Sequim’s Paden Sutterby 12-3 at 140 pounds.
Without the forfeits, Sequim would have topped the Bulldogs 33-22.