The Borderites held their own as a the sole 1A team in a pool of larger wrestling squads at the Panther Classic, with six athletes placing in the top five for their weight class, one athlete winning his division, and the entire team placing fifth out of 16 schools with 112 points.
The January 5 tournament began at 10 a.m. on the mats of Snohomish High School. Blaine’s athletes wrestled well throughout the day, with most progressing into subsequent matches.
Senior captain Caleb Johnson was the 220-lb. champion, tallying two pins on his way to a 7-5 victory over Lynden’s Caleb
Senior captain Justin Belding placed third at 152 lbs., and senior captain Jon Stewart placed third at 160 lbs.
Junior Mikey Antczak placed third at 285 lbs., and junior Christian Sharp placed fifth at 145 lbs.
Freshman Stuey Rasar progressed to the semifinals of his division and placed fifth in the 106-lb. division. Fellow freshman and 106-lb. competitor Kyle Gonzales missed the tournament due to an elbow injury.
Coach Craig Foster said he was encouraged by his team’s performance.
“It’s good to wrestle against these larger schools,” he said. “It gives us a feel for the tougher state competition, and when we do well in a tough matchup it builds confidence. Overall we did well today.”
Looking forward to the state tournament, Foster said the day’s wrestling prepared Blaine well for the 25th Annual Mat Classic in Tacoma, scheduled for February 15 and 16.