Blaine wrestlers place against national competition at Las Vegas Tournament


By Oliver Lazenby

Blaine wrestling teams traveled to Nevada over the holiday break where the boys competed against 51 teams from seven states at the Las Vegas Invitational.

For a team known throughout the state for its wrestling program, the tournament presented a chance for Blaine to see how it matches up against tougher competition without the baggage of its winning reputation.

Some strong wrestlers suffered tough losses and others matched up just fine against some of the best wrestlers in the west. Blaine’s Jacob Westfall placed third at 197 pounds and Aidan Button placed fourth at 162. Westfall and Button have led the Borderites all season, with first place finishes at the Lynnwood Classic, the Battle at the Border and other tournaments.

Blaine’s Ethan Deming, Owen Hansen and Gavino Rodriguez were all one match away from placing at Las Vegas.

Head coach Tom Hinz said the mid-season tournament gave the Borderites a chance to reevaluate their strengths and weaknesses and regroup before postseason competition starts on February 2.

“We had a bigger-than-state experience,” he said. “We get to reevaluate and build ourselves back up to the state tournament.”

The Borderites also used the trip as an opportunity for team building. Though Las Vegas isn’t that distant, even its Wal-Mart can feel exotic compared to small-town Whatcom County, Hinz said.

“We stretched our cultural footprint. We got to go to Hoover Dam and see some of Nevada. We went to the Stratosphere [Hotel] and rode all the rides,” he said. “Some of them had never been on a rollercoaster before.”

The week after Vegas, the Borderites placed seventh against 23 teams at the Everett Classic on January 5. Blaine’s top finishers were Alex Hall, third place at 138 pounds, Aidan Button, third at 160 pounds, Jacob Westfall, first at 195 pounds, and Owen Hansen, third at 220 pounds.

The Blaine boys wrestle next at 10 a.m., Saturday, January 12, at the King of Beacon Hill Invitational at Cleveland High School in Seattle.


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