The Borderites were unable to hold onto a 21-5 opening lead halfway into last Wednesday’s wrestling meet at Mt. Baker high school and succumbed to the Mountaineers’ pin-happy middle and heavyweights, losing the Northwest Conference (NWC) regular season wrestling title 47-27.
But the Borderites have little of which to be ashamed, ending their regular season as the second-best team in the conference as post-season wrestling starts later this week.
Blaine’s performance could not have been much better in the first half of the match, with only one Borderite wrestler losing his match in the first six of the night. Mt. Baker’s 103-pound Carson Monaghan secured a technical fall in the third round of his match against Kyle Gonzales to make the team score 5-0, Mt. Baker, after the opening match.
Answering the Mountaineers’ first victory, Borderite Aiden Jackson secured a quick pin in the second round of his match against Hunter Schenk to make the team score 6-5, Blaine. Christian Sharpe added three team points to Blaine’s total with a 4-0 decision against Mt. Baker’s Alex Tyska in the third match of the night.
Blaine’s winning ways continued with a 11-2 major decision from Borderites Kelton Nix against Joey Walton and a technical fall after 15 unanswered match points in Blaine’s Tony Jordan’s win against Nazar Bezugly.
Five matches in, Blaine held an 18-5 lead as the Mt. Baker crowd began to get curiously quiet. Borderite Shaypher Hendricks tallied his fifth win in a row with a 4-0 victory over Mt. Baker’s Cody Thayer to make Blaine’s team score 21-5.
Then the tide turned in the Mountaineers’ favor. Mt. Baker’s Bryce Postlewait racked up the first pin against Blaine of the night in his victory over Justine Belding in the first round of the seventh match. Two more first-round pins for Mt. Baker, A.J. Howard against Nick Barnes and Gabe Jacoby against Tanner Foster, quickly closed the team score gap to put Mt. Baker at a 23-21 lead.
Boderite Michael Macauley was able to make it to the second round of his match against Levi Wigg, but was eventually pinned halfway through the second. Mountaineer Vlas Bezugly also stayed dominant over Sheldon Hicks, pinning him in the first round of their match to make the team score 35-21 in Mount Baker’s favor.
Blaine’s Caleb Johnson was able to bring the Borderites within eight points of Mount Baker with a first round pin against Aaron Leavitt. However, a forfeit in Mount Baker’s favor and pin against Blaine’s Michael Antczak brought the Mountaineers’ 12 more team points and pushed Mount Baker to their 47-27 win.
The Borderites next head to the NWC sub-regional tournament at Squalicum high school on Friday, February 4 and Saturday, February 5. The action starts at 6 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. on Saturday.
Photo by Jeremy Schwartz