by Jack Kintner
Blaine grapplers are 5-0 at dual meets, win invitational
The undefeated Borderite wrestling team ran its dual meet string to 5-0 with a fantastic 38-29 victory over Ferndale last Wednesday at home.
It followed that up with a decisive win at the eight-team Mt. Vernon Invitational at which nine Blaine wrestlers reached the finals.
At Blaine last week Shane Hicks (215 pound weight class) secured another Blaine dual meet victory with a 1:51 pin of hulking Tyler Mustappa right after Ferndale’s Ryan Nelson (189) had given the Golden Eagles a two-point lead with a closely fought 9-5 victory over Blaine’s Darrell Price. Nelson’s dad Jim teaches at Blaine.
The dual meet was close all night, and none of the classes were decided by forfeit. In the first match Blaine’s Nick Barnes (109) got pinned by Micah Johnson for an early Ferndale lead. The best match of the evening came next as Blaine’s Kelton Nix (112) defeated Ferndale’s lone girl wrestler, a very tough and tenacious Jade Mustappa, 16-14 with a combination of smart wrestling and an iron grip.
The score bounced back and forth between the two, the slippery but strong Mustappa seemingly able to wiggle out of anything Nix could devise, but with the score tied at 14 and both wrestlers on the point of exhaustion, Nix scored a two-point reversal in the closing seconds for the win.
Ferndale took the next match in the see-saw battle as Jack Johnson (119) pinned Blaine’s Mike Petronella.
Next, Jacob Humphrey (125), who is the odds-on favorite to win his class at the state tournament in Tacoma next February, pinned Dylan Krenz in 4:43, but Ferndale came right back as Jason Reiser (130) pinned Blaine’s Kyler Macowiak.
Then Blaine took the next match as Jamal Mallak (135) beat Riley Wirts 9-3.
Tyson Foster, son of head coach Craig Foster, put Blaine into a commanding lead with his five minute pin of Bryer Barmore for two Blaine match wins in a row. Jesse Kilthau (145) made it three straight with his 55-second pin of Conner Brame.
Ferndale took the next two matches as Tristan Greig (152) beat Brian Bock and Pedro Mungarro (160) beat Shafer Hicks in a close one 3-0.
Blaine’s Jeremy Holdaas (171) then defeated Kyler Grow in a tense match by one point, 3-2, to take an over-all one-point lead that was lost when Nelson beat Price but was regained decisively when Hicks pinned Jade Mustappas’s older brother Tyler.
Cody Dobbs (285) put the frosting on the cake in a situation similar to one he faced last year against Bellingham, where his match came last and determined the outcome of the meet. Last year he lost, but this year he sailed to a 15-point win, 20-5, smiling all the way.
Blaine’s on the road for invitationals at Mt. Baker (12-20), Vashon Island (12-29) and Chehalis (January 5, 2008) before returning home for their annual friendly but very serious match with Mt. Baker on January 10.
In Mt. Vernon, Darrell Price (189) won his weight class by beating Corey Parish of Oakville, Oregon, 11-0, and Tyson Foster (140) defeated Kamiak’s Bryton Reim 8-6.
It was the first tournament victory for both wrestlers. Other class winners for Blaine included Jacob Humphrey (119), who pinned Burlington’s Marco Ramirez in just under two minutes, and Kyler Mackowiak (130), who beat team mate Camden Nix by a point, 6-5.
Other Blaine wrestlers who reached the finals included D.J. Duncan (125), Jesse Kilthau (145), Jeremy Holdaas (171) and Shane Hicks (215).
Blaine narrowly defeated in 58-56 game Friday
Blaine managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory last Friday night at home against Mt. Baker in a close match that had fans screaming, officials confused and, in the end, Blaine on the short end of a 58-56 score.
Blaine started with a strong offensive show and a pressing defense for a 19-11 first quarter and later came back valiantly against an equally stifling Mt. Baker defense that controlled the boards well enough to give the Mounties a 23-9 second quarter and a 34-28 halftime lead.
After keeping pace with Mt. Baker in the third quarter, Blaine junior guard Odie Johannessen, who had only one bucket in the first three quarters, sank four treys in the fourth plus two more for 14 points, almost enough to answer the Mounties.
Despite the loss Blaine (now 1-4) showed toughness from this painful near miss that will yield benefits when conference play begins in earnest after the first of the year. The Borderites lost the game in the paint where they were out-rebounded 35-25.
Confusion among the officials was evident at one point when they held the game up for nearly a minute while the three of them argued quietly on the court about a call that one of them had going against Blaine and another had going the other way.
Blaine drops two before break
The Lady B’s of the Hardwood continue to be plagued by cold shooting, dropping non-conference road games to Nooksack 38-25 and to Mt. Baker 55-35 before taking off for the “Crush in the Slush” tournament in Port Townsend next week.
Against Nooksack, Blaine managed to shoot just 17 percent from the field. Their 42 percent free throw shooting (six for 14) kept them in the game and at the end of three quarters they were behind by just three points at 24-27.
An 11-1 Nooksack run in the fourth quarter, however, sealed the Borderites’ fate. Kristen Elsbree was high point scorer for Blaine with nine while the normally potent Kellee Harbst was held to just four points.
Three days later the B’s met Mt. Baker in their commodious field house on the Nooksack and took a shellacking from Courtney Van Brocklin and company 20 points, scoring just once in the opening quarter to find themselves behind 17-2 at the start of the second quarter. Normally productive guard Bailey Richardson was held scoreless although Harbst got somewhat back in the groove with nine points on the evening.
The Port Townsend tournament gets underway on Thursday, December 27, at Port Townsend high school. With the loss of car ferry service directly to Port Townsend from Whidbey Island (Keystone), the next best connection for fans is via the Edmonds-Kingston ferry, although the high school is less than a mile walk for those who elect to take the passenger-only ferry that still serves the Keystone-Port Townsend run.
For the week of December 14
Mt. Baker 55, Blaine 35
Blaine 38, Ferndale 2912/15
Mt. Vernon InvitationalBlaine 258.5, Kamiak 232, Mt. Vernon 182, Burlington 154, SOuth Whidbey 116, Oakridge, OR 102, La Conner 52, Anacortes 20