The Blaine wrestling team was favored to win the Class 1A Sub Regional Tournament at Squalicum High School February 1, but out of the six teams in attendance Mount Baker finished first with 317 points to Blaine’s 310.5.
The upset came as a surprise to those in attendance because Blaine has beaten Mount Baker both times the Northwest Conference powerhouses faced each other this season.
“They wrestled well,” Blaine head coach Craig Foster said. “I think they were the strongest they’ve been all season.”
Despite finishing in second place, Foster said he was more than satisfied with the results of the tournament. The top four finishers in each weight class will move on to the Class 1A Regional Tournament and will include 14 Blaine athletes. Foster said he he expected up to 15 of his wrestlers would move onto regionals and, with 14 Borderites making the cut, sub-regionals went about as well as he expected.
“The team feels good,” he said. “They’ll be ready to go come Saturday.” Foster added that coming in second to Mount Baker might add some competitive fire to regionals.
“That rivalry keeps the teams battling and working hard,” he said. “It’s a good thing.”
At regionals, Blaine will face 1A teams from across the western half of the state as wrestlers vie for a bid to the state tournament in Tacoma.
The Washington state high school wrestling tournament held in the Tacoma Dome every year marks its 25th anniversary this year. The 2013 Mat Classic is scheduled for Friday, February 15 and Saturday, February 16.
Senior and state title contender Caleb Johnson dropped down a weight class from 220-lbs. to 195-lbs in time for the sub-regional tournament. Foster said Johnson’s weight was coming down naturally through training and he made the decision to drop down a weight.
“He’s been very disciplined about it,” Foster said. “He isn’t hurting.” While it is advantageous to be on the heavy side of a weight bracket, Foster said that Johnson will still face tough competition at 195 lbs.
The regional tournament starts at noon on Saturday, February 9 in Hoquiam.