The field might not have been grand, but Aberdeen’s Last-Chance Invitational was a worthwhile climax to the regular season for at least three Grays Harbor wrestlers.
Aberdeen’s Jordon Logan and Tristen Jimenez and Elma’s Austin Carrell were among the titlists in the Last-Chance tourney Saturday at Sam Benn Gym.
Designed as a final tune-up for postseason competition that begins next week, the tourney was actually a substitute for the Aberdeen Kickoff Classic, which was canceled due to inclement weather in early December.
Since most of the scheduled teams for the Kickoff Classic had already filled their calendar for the past weekend, only Elma (minus some of their top performers), Bellingham, Franklin Pierce and Quileute Tribal joined the host Bobcats for Saturday’s event. Three weight classes (120, 132 and 182) had no entrants.
“It served our purpose,” Aberdeen coach Chuck Veloni said. “We got to see some people from throughout the state. We were hoping to have more teams, but it was what it was.”
Bellingham took team honors with 206 points, 42 ahead of Franklin Pierce. Aberdeen was third with 126 points.
Logan’s victory over Bellingham’s Melvin Deal in the 285-pound final was easily the highlight of the title round.
Surprisingly dominating the Bobcat ace late in the first round, Deal owned a 7-0 lead midway through the second period when he began showing visible signs of fatigue.
Logan, in fact, had Deal on his back as the second round concluded, but the pin was completed a split second after time expired. The AHS senior, however, had narrowed the deficit to 7-6.
After tying it with an escape early in the third round, Logan took the lead when Deal was called for stalling in the final 30 seconds. Logan removed whatever taint existed from the penalty point by notching a takedown and 2-point near-fall in the closing seconds for a 12-7 win.
“Jordon definitely ran him into the ground and that’s what we (work) a lot on in practice,” Veloni said.
Jimenez made quicker work of his opponent, needing only 40 seconds to pin Bellingham’s Babak Abesaidi in the 145-pound title match.
Carrell nearly pinned Franklin Pierce’s in the opening round of the 195-pound final and finished the job early in the second stanza.
Five other Harborites lost in the title round.
Elma 160-pounder Steven Persell trailed Franklin Pierce’s Jerritt Miles, 8-7, midway through the second round when he was called for an illegal slam. Miles, unable to continue, was awarded the victory by injury default.
Bellingham’s Blair Bennett pinned Aberdeen’s Tavo Sanchez in the first round of the 170-pound final, in a match that ended with Sanchez flexing his shoulder. Franklin Pierce’s Austin Olson pulled away in the final minute to decision Aberdeen’s Erikk Machowek, 9-2, in the 138-pound title match.
Bellingham’s Ben Donnelly pinned Elma’s Mario Yanez in 20 seconds of the 113-pound final. Elma’s Matt Hitchiner was also pinned by a Bellingham wrestler, Sergio Torres, in the 126-pound title bout.
Eagle assistant coach Russell Luellen gave his limited squad decent marks.
“They performed up to expectations and some exceeded our expectations,” Luellen said of his troops. Hitchiner and Persell, he said, fit into the latter category.
Quileute Tribal sophomore Jonny Law, who spent his freshman year at Taholah, demonstrated his postseason potential in the Class B ranks with a first-round pin over Bellingham’s Nick Hanks in the 220-pound final.
Veloni said he plans to stage both the Kickoff Classic and the Last-Chance Invitational next year.
The Bobcats will launch their posteason run with the Class 2A subregionals Friday and Saturday at Tumwater. Elma will compete in the 1A subregionals the same days at Hoquiam.
Bellingham 206, Franklin Pierce 168, Aberdeen 126, Elma 113 1/2, Aberdeen II 26, Quileute Tribal 20, Bellingham II 7, Franklin Pierce II 7, All-Stars 5.
106: Championship — Dewald Oliver (Bel) only participant. 113: Championship — Ben Donnelly (Bel) pinned Mario Yanez (E), 0:20. 3. Martin Espino (FP). 4. Ryan Mesojednik (E II). 126: Championship — Sergio Torres (Bel) pinned Matt Hitchiner (E II), 1:42. 3. Ricardo Romero (E). 4. Andrew Olson (FP). 126-B: Championship — Riley Takemura (Bel) pinned Peyton Benefiel (FP), 2:50. 3. Hunter Mesojednik (E). 4. Austin Pierce (A). 138: Championship — Austin Olson (FP) dec. Erikk Machowek (A), 9-2. 3. Grant Bowley (A II). 145: Championship — Tristen Jimenez (A) pinned Babak Abedsaidi (Bel), 0:40. 3. Chase Robbins (FP). 4. Keysen Billups (FP).
152: Championship — John Tietz (F) dec. Alden Roberts (Bel), 15-3. 3. Cory Marsh (E). 4. Kolby Shelton (A). 160: Championship — Jerritt Miles (FP) won inj. default over Steven Persell (E). 3. Bobby Rowe (A). 4. David Burnham (Bel). 170: Championship — Blair Bennett (Bel) pinned Tavo Sanchez (A), 1:45. 3. Gabriel Gere (FP). 4. Justin Baldwin (A II). 195: Championship — Austin Carrell (E) pinned Marco Bennett (FP), 2:36. 3. Ben Tupper (A). 4. Spencer Marshall (Bel). 220: Championship — Jonny Law (QT) pinned Nick Hanks, 1:21. 3. Jordan Evans (FP). 285: Championship — Jordon Logan (A) dec. Melvin Deal (Bel), 12-7. 3. Austin Holt (FP).