ELMA — The first step toward the Mat Classic in Tacoma was taken in Elma for the Evergreen 1A boys wrestling teams and a large gathering of Western Washington girls wrestling teams on Saturday.
Host Elma, which lost the league dual meet title to Forks last week, made up for it in its home gym by winning the Evergreen 1A sub-regional team title. Elma, Hoquiam and Montesano will take 25 wrestlers who qualified in the top-four finishes to next week’s regional tournament at Hoquiam.
For the Harbor’s girls, the cream of the crop rose up on a tough day on the mats. Six Harbor girls will move on to next week’s regional tournament at Battle Ground, with two sub-regional champions — Montesano’s Rebecca Odegard and Hoquiam’s Sam King.
Odegard was the first Harbor wrestler to take the mat in the championship finals, taking on Sequim’s Kaylee Ditlefsen in the 130-pound final. Odegard, a Montesano student who trains in Elma’s wrestling room and represented the Eagles during the regular season in a co-op format, didn’t waste time against Ditlefsen.
The Sequim wrestler got the first takedown of the match, but the wrestlers fell out of bounds, wiping away the points. Seconds after the restart, Odegard got her own takedown and quickly spun Ditlefsen onto her back en route to the victory by pin at 1:29. All three wins for Odegard on Saturday came on first-round pins and represented her first tournament win of the season, according to Elma head coach Jason Dick.
Odegard will be joined by her Elma teammates Evelyn Lafferty, fourth at 118, and Alyx Marsh, third at 155.
The 155-pound final was a Hoquiam affair — teammates King and Taylor Walker faced off against each other. Both wrestlers were state qualifiers in the past, but King had the advantage in this matchup. The senior took Walker down and scored a 3-point near-fall in the first round for a 5-0 lead.
In the second period, King reversed Walker onto her back and picked up the win by pin at 2:53.
Hoquiam’s Lindsay Leonard, third at 170, will also move on to regionals.
Seven Harbor wrestlers got their hands raised in victory in their championship matches on Saturday, five of them from host Elma. Hoquiam and Montesano each got one win as well, but this was an Eagle night.
Elma used those five individual titles at the end to hold off Forks, 244-205, for the team title. Hoquiam took fourth and Montesano fifth.
Elma’s Ryan Wilson (106 pounds) started the finals, which were a two-mat affair, by jumping out to a big lead on Forks’ Sebastian Morales in the first two periods, 6-2. Morales climbed back as the duo traded takedowns and reversals in the final period. Wilson got the final reversal, sealing a 10-6 win.
Eagle teammate Matt Gamino was dominant in his 113 final against Forks’ Alvaro Ortiz, giving up just one escape point in the second period and having Ortiz nearly stuck in the final 30 seconds of the match for a technical fall, 16-1, at 6:00.
Tanner Sample, at 132, was just as dominant, blanking Tenino’s Riley Fisher, 14-0, in the final.
“Tanner wrestled clean and he won against a quality opponent; Matt got a tech against a kid he barely turned last time and he’s coming along great,” Dick said. “Honestly, I thought the guys went out there and battled. This is what they’ve been training for. They had a goal to win (the league dual meet title), but that didn’t work out. The kids set goals, were fired up and wrestled well. A couple of kids should have advanced, but you win some, lose some. Overall, I thought they all wrestled awesome.”
Elma’s Austin Carrell, in the 195 final against Hoquiam’s Nick Lindseth, came away with the comeback win of the night. Trailing throughout the match, Carrell got a reversal on Lindseth with 40 seconds to go in the match. At the same time, he kept driving Lindseth onto his back and picked up the win by pin at 5:47.
Elma picked up one win by forfeit, at 170 with Layne Sutten getting the win over Montesano’s Anthony Louthan.
Hoquiam’s Jonathan Molina was the lone finalist to get the win for the Grizzlies, who had five finalists overall. Wearing his wrestling singlet backward, Molina took on Montesano’s Cristian Gutierrez and scored the match’s only takedowns. Molina kept Gutierrez from scoring anything but escapes for a 5-2 win.
Lindseth, Jesse Velez (120), Tristan Stutesman (126) and David Molitor (138) were the other Hoquiam finalists.
“Out of our 15 guys, we have 11 guys (10 qualifiers and one alternate) surviving to next week and I feel really good about that,” HHS head coach Fidel Sanchez said. “It showed the hard work the kids put in this week. We showed a lot of spark, a lot of anger to get through. We were there in every match and showed it. Hopefully we can keep it going and take that many to state.”
Montesano’s Ben O’Brien was in one of the smallest brackets of the tournament — three entries. O’Brien picked up a bye into the finals and made it work against Forks’ Gavin Castaneda. O’Brien never trailed, but added to a one-point lead early in the third period with a reversal and held on for a 5-4 victory.
O’Brien was joined by Louthan and Kylar Prante (145) in the finals.
The top-four finishers in each of the two tournaments in Elma will be available at www.thedailyworld.com