By Ian Ferugson
The Borderites fought hard on their home mats with much success over the two-day Battle at the Border wrestling tournament.
When the dust settled on December 13, Blaine ended up in fourth place out of 21 teams with a score of 205 points. Kentwood won the tournament with 224 points, Todd Beamer came in second with 210.5 points and Ferndale edged out Blaine for third place with 206.5 points.
Two Blaine wrestlers emerged as champions in their weight class: Riley Fritsch at 138 pounds and Caleb Frey at 145 pounds. Fritsch tallied two pins on his way to a 3–1 decision in the championship round. Frey pushed his championship round to overtime and came out on top in a 6–4 decision.
Colton Economy and Gage Lott placed second at 120 and 126 pounds respectively, and Anthony Frey and Stuey Rasar placed third at 132 and 113 pounds respectively.
Derreck Camba took fourth place at 126 pounds, and Billy Dodd placed fourth at 138 pounds.
It was a solid showing for the reigning state champion wrestling Borderites.
“I thought we had a pretty good performance all around,” said Blaine head coach Craig Foster. “All eight of our state-level wrestlers placed, and a lot of other kids won matches.”
A total of 29 Blaine athletes competed, some of whom were JV wrestlers battling in a varsity tournament.
“That’s a lot of really good experience for those younger kids,” Foster said.
One of the younger wrestlers who stood out was Caleb Bullard, a 120-pound freshman. He won a 19–5 decision and a pin before losing to the wrestler who would go on to win the weight class.
“He beat some quality opponents,” Foster said.
Riley Fritsch scored a big upset when he defeated Kentwood’s Walker Meyers, who placed in the 4A state tournament last year. Fritsch beat Meyers 3–1 in the championship round at 138 pounds.
With 21 teams in attendance, this year’s Battle at the Border was one of the biggest in memory, yet Foster said it was definitely the smoothest run Battle at the Border.
“We had so many great people running all the different components of the event. From announcing to putting the brackets together to concessions, there’s a lot that goes into it, and everyone worked really well together to make it a huge success,” he said.
This Saturday, December 20 the Borderites will split up as half the team heads to an elite tournament in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho and the other half heads to the Paul Reiman Classic tournament in Mount Vernon. The Idaho event is the Tri-State Tournament, which actually involves top wrestlers from four states: Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.
“It’s at the highest levels of high school competition. To give you an idea, we placed 40th last year and we were state champions,” Foster said.
The tournament is a chance to give Blaine’s veteran wrestlers a competitive edge early in the season, and a level of competition they won’t see again until the state tournament.
“The kids are looking forward to it,” he said.
Olivia Adams will head to the Lady Lions Tournament at Lynden on Saturday, December 20. The tournament begins at 10 a.m.