By Oliver Lazenby
Blaine wrestlers faced some of their toughest tests of the season in the last few weeks and, led by Saul Magallon, Colton Economy and Riley Fritsch, delivered strong performances.
Blaine wrestlers earned a 10th place team score out of 35 teams at the Pacific Coast Wrestling Championship on December 29 in Vancouver, Washington. After the holiday break, Blaine wrestlers beat Meridian and Squalicum in a tournament at home on January 4. Blaine beat Meridian 69–21 and Squalicum 54–18.
“I think we’re finding our groove,” said head coach Colt Warren. “I love this time of year, right before postseason. It’s definitely time to reflect on what we’ve done and set some goals for the postseason.”
Postseason begins on February 3 with sub-regionals in Sedro-Woolley. Warren is hopeful that eight to 10 Blaine wrestlers will advance through the playoffs to the state championships at the Tacoma Dome on February 17–18.
At Gut Check Challenge on January 6–7 in Bremerton, Blaine wrestlers hit the mat with teams from Alaska, California, Oregon and Washington. Many weight brackets included a past state championship.
Blaine placed 26th out of 58 teams at Gut Check, and three Borderites placed individually. Riley Fritsch placed 7th in the 170-pound class, and two Blaine wrestlers took 3rd place – Colton Economy at 132 pounds and Saul Magallon at 220 pounds.
One highlight was Magallon’s matches against J.J. Perez of Century High School in Hillsboro, Oregon. Magallon lost to Perez in the quarterfinals but then wrestled him again in the third place match, where he pinned him in the second round.
“He wrestled a really, really intelligent match,” Warren said. “He knew what his opponents strengths were and he wrestled in order to take away those strengths and it showed on the mat.”
Blaine’s next home dual meet is on January 18 against Bellingham and Sehome high schools.