Steilacoom wins Aberdeen Kickoff Classic wrestling invite

Four Grays Harbor wrestlers kicked off their 2012-13 wrestling season on Saturday with an invitational title to put onto their score sheets at Sam Benn Gym.

Aberdeen’s Jaime Miranda and Hoquiam’s Austin Prosch, David Molitor and Jonathan Molina all won their respective weight classes and Steilacoom used four titleists and six finalists to edge out Black Hills for the team title at the Aberdeen Kickoff Classic on Saturday.

Steilacoom finished with 172 points, one better than Black Hills. Cheney took third, Hoquiam fourth and Aberdeen fifth. Taholah also competed in the invitational and finished eighth.

The finals were a double-fisted affair — two matches going simultaneously, with the lower weights starting on one mat and the heavier weights on the other. Thus, Miranda’s victory in the heavyweights kicked off the final matches and ignited a rivalry in the process.

Miranda faced off against Steilacoom’s Travis Pine. Both wrestlers are state-ranked entering the season and both brought out the intensity in the other.

After a stalemate of a first period, the second period got fired up when both wrestlers tumbled each other into the stands with Miranda leading, 1-0, on an early escape. Both wrestlers each had a chance to get a takedown in the second period, but the intensity rose going into the third period.

Pine, from the bottom position, battled Miranda hard and secured a vital escape to tie the match, 1-1, with 26 seconds left. Neither wrestler could score as overtime was ushered in. On the start for the first overtime period, Miranda shot in, got one of Pine’s legs and executed a single-leg takedown for a 3-1 overtime victory.

“A real rivalry was created, because Jaime will have to go through that guy to get to state,” AHS head coach Chuck Veloni said. “In our region, we have 4-5 state-ranked wrestlers in the region and one of them will stay home. Jaime served notice that he won’t be staying home. We’re a little flat, missing three starters (due to lack of practices), but it is early in the season.”

Hoquiam’s Prosch had the easiest day of the tournament at 106 pounds. He was the only entry.

At 138, Molitor got his chance against Black Hills’ Nick Knittle and the two exchanged moves, takedowns, reversals and momentum in a scintillating final. After two periods, the match was tied at 8-8. Molitor grabbed a 10-8 lead, then the match took its final turns. In a series of moves where Molitor and Knittle exchanged reversals, Molitor for the final move and pinned Knittle at 5:10 for the win.

Molina, in the 152 final, trailed for the first two periods to Klahowya’s Eli Everson. From the down position to start the third period, Molina escaped, then took Everson down for a 7-6 lead with 1:10 left. In control, Molina fought off several attempts to ride out the match win.

“Being a head wrestling coach for the first time, I had some doubts, but the coaches were surprised by the kids,” HHS head coach Fidel Sanchez said. “The kids wrestled well. Going into the season, with a lot of changes, we competed really well. I’m proud of these guys.”

Aberdeen had three finalists on the night, with Tristian Anderson in the 125 final and Jose Duran in the 182 final.

Anderson took on Black Hills’ Cole Rosie, who had control of the match from the start. Rosie came close to a technical fall on points before getting the pin at 5:45. Duran took on Steilacoom’s Jackson Leech, who got a takedown and a 3-point near fall for a 5-0 lead in the second period and kept Duran from scoring in a 6-0 win.

Hoquiam finished with four finalists. At 113, Austin Edwards was unable to make it a 4-for-4 sweep in the first finals match of the lower weights. Facing Black Hills’ Mason Adams, Edwards found himself in a bad spot on a takedown that turned into a pin for Adams at 1:29.

Full summaries of the tournament will be available at