Hoquiam did its part leading up to Thursday night’s Evergreen 1A dual meet finalé by going undefeated before honoring its seniors at Hoquiam Square Garden.
The only ones standing in Hoquiam’s way of a league dual meet title was top-five ranked Forks, which entered the dual undefeated as well.
After a split in the first four matches, the visiting Spartans went on a title-clinching run to pin down the Grizzlies, 51-18.
“We were hoping for better results — decisions, not pins — at the lower weights and we were looking for wins at the top weights, not being pinned; we didn’t get that,” HHS head coach Fidel Sanchez said. “That said, Forks is a machine once it gets rolling. There’s a reason why it is ranked in the top five in the state. They’re deep.”
Following the Senior Night ceremony, Hoquiam split the first four matches— winning the opening match at 195 pounds on Kenny Huffman’s pin and the 106-pound match by forfeit — at 12-12.
The Grizzlies were held to just two more decision wins on the night by a Spartan squad stacked with state-ranked grapplers.
Fourth-ranked Sebastian Morales took down, then released, Hoquiam’s Elliot Foss throughout their 113 match. In the third period, Morales got a takedown that put Foss onto his back and junior state-placer got the pin at 5:18.
Hoquiam’s Jesse Velez held control of Alvaro Ortiz, 8-3, in their 120 match before Forks won the next five matches in a row. In that string, the Grizzlies’ Tristan Stutesman nearly upset state-ranked Ricky Barragan in the 138 match.
In a slow-paced match, Stutesman held a slim 4-3 lead after two periods. Barragan, a state placer last year, rolled his way out for an escape in the first 10 seconds, then waited until the final 30 seconds for a one-leg takedown to grab a 6-4 win. Stutesman nearly had takedowns and near-fall points on Barragan throughout the match, forcing the Spartan senior to defend.
“The only real surprise was Barragan struggling and Stutesman pushing him as hard as he could,” Sanchez added. “He’s a top-three wrestler and for Stutesman to push him like that to a possible upset, that was surprising for me. He’s been wrestling really well lately. Velez got a good win and Tahj (Malone) got a huge win for seeding.”
Malone offered Hoquiam its final varsity win of the night when he bent, twisted and rolled Forks’ Jack Dahlgren in a catch-as-catch-can match at 160. Both wrestlers moved, countered, countered again and countered a third time in long series of moves that stockpiled points and drama.
In the third period, Dahlgren nearly came back from an 18-10 deficit before Malone scored a late reversal and near-fall for a 22-15 win.
Prior to the match, Hoquiam honored nine seniors from its boys and girls programs — Anderson, Huffman, Angel Mazariegos, David Molitor, Mariah Nelle, Hosanna Quaempts, Stutesman, Alex Valliere and Taylor Walker.
On Saturday, Hoquiam will travel to the Ilwaco Beach Brawl before returning home to host the Evergreen 1A tournament on Feb. 7-8.
195 — Kenny Huffman (H) pinned Ryan MiGraw, :30. 220 — Luke Loveless (F) pinned Gary Aube, 1:41. 285 — Joel Ward (F) pinned Tyler Smith, 2:45. 106 — Shiianna Anderson (H) won by forfeit. 113 — Sebastian Morales (F) pinned Elliott Foss, 5:18. 120 — Jesse Velez (H) dec. Alvaro Ortiz, 8-3. 126 — Garrison Schumack (F) pinned Austin Prosch, 1:18. 132 — Nanito Sanchez (F) dec. David Molitor, 11-5. 138 — Ricky Barragan (F) dec. Tristan Stutesman, 6-4. 145 — Javier Conteras (F) pinned Artimus Johnson, 1:28. 152 — Abisai Garcia (F) pinned Angel Mazariegos, 4:51. 160 — Tahj Malone (H) dec. Jack Dahlgren, 22-15. 170 — Nate Gimlin (F) dec. Alex Valliere, 12-11. 182 — Gavin Castaneda (F) pinned Michael Harris, 3:58.
Exhibition — Taylor Walker (H) dec. Brooke Peterson, 8-5.