by Jack Kintner
Wrestlers pulling out the stops
“This is gonna be quick,” Meridian athletic director Steve Miller said quietly when Borderite Derik Stremler (145 pound class) came out to face the Trojan’s lanky Jon Lee in the final Borderite home match of the season last week.
Starting from an up position, Stremler stuck his head under Lee’s right arm, lifted him bodily with his neck, turned and slammed him back down on the mat like flattened roadkill, and began prying him over onto his back. The 42-second pin was the fastest of the four Blaine got in defeating the Trojans 65-12.
As in wrestling’s days of yore the weight classes proceeded in order at the meet from lightest to heaviest (in the modern era the order is usually shuffled), and Blaine lost the first two contested matches. In these lightning-quick encounters typical of the flyweights Ryan Pate (103) pushed the stronger Harris Larson well into the third period, showing good stamina before getting pinned. Mike Broyan (119) was well ahead on points when he let his guard down for a bit toward the end of the second period and got pinned in a surprisingly quick move by Meridian’s Derek Miller.
But after that Blaine rolled up the rest of the meet with all the self-assurance of John Wayne clearing out a bar. Jesse Kilthau (125) beat Kyle Emmons decisively 12-4, and then Sam Abrams (130) took Trojan Brandon Frost’s face for an impressively up close and personal tour of the mat, finally pinning him, mercifully, at 5:42.
The talented and improving John Brady (140) narrowly decisioned Meridian’s best wrestler, Mike LaPointe, 6-2, in the evening’s highlight match, after which Stremler dispatched Lee so fast the ref thought he used a gun. That was followed by reliable Calvin Moore’s 11-3 drubbing of Brian Capp in the 152-pound class.
The fun – for Blaine, at least – continued as Shane Hicks (171) pounded on Chris Kortlever like a tent stake, pinning him with one second left in the opening period. The trim but solid Corey Smith (275) showed remarkable strength against the groaning, brobdingnagian Frank Sands, a crushingly strong corn-fed farm kid the size of a foothill, big enough for his own zip code.
But, albeit with some effort, Smith moved him around at will, like a bulldozer taming a pile of wet sand, and pinned him a half minute into the second period to close out the evening’s festivities, leaving him sprawled in the middle of the mat like an exhausted dinosaur.
Blaine continued to dominate at last Saturday’s Lynden Invitational, finishing second over-all among 12 schools. John Brady (135) decisioned Federal Way’s Dustin Holland 8-3, and Blayne Brandenburger (189) beat Dale Evans of Anacortes 7-4. Corey Smith placed second in the heavies, losing to Joe Huss, the champ from Kamiak, by a pin. Third place finishers for the tourney included Jesse Kilthau (119) Sam Abrams (125), Nick Jordan (145), Matt Determan (160) and Shane Hicks (171). Mike Broyan got fourth at 112 pounds.
scores: Kamiak 247, Blaine 191, Federal Way 140, Anacortes
133, Decatur 126, Edmonds-Woodway 109, Orting 105,
South Whidbey 85, Shorecrest 67, Lynden 56, Chief
Sealth 36, Lynnwood 20.
Blaine next heads into sub-district matches this weekend in a post-season program that will take them, by stages, to districts and regional contests the first two weekends in February. The state tournament follows on February 18-19, when the Tacoma Dome is paved with rubber and all the best wrestlers in the state gather for the season’s finale. Expect a few Borderites to make the trip. They’re certainly earning it.
Slivers from the bench...
Lady B’s continue to struggle
in league play, dropping a close one at Mt. Baker 37-35
on January 14 followed by a loss at Nooksack 48-39 last
At Mt. Baker, Jen Kramer’s nine rebounds and Alyssa Hendrickson’s 14 points were tops for both teams, but Baker’s balanced scoring and last-minute finesse put the game away in the final quarter as Mountaineer junior Jackie Phillips sank two free throws to ice the game.
Scoring by Quarters –
Blaine 8 9 5 13 = 35
Mt. Baker 6 12 4 15 = 37
guard Ainsley Nix’s 13 points led Blaine
to a 17-12 rally in the third quarter that pulled the Lady
B’s to within three points of the Pioneers, but it
wasn’t enough to overcome Nooksack’s hot-shooting
Malorey Visser. The 5'10" junior forward scored 26
points to top Blaine by nine. The loss left Blaine still
searching for its first conference win.
Scoring by quarters
Blaine 7 8 17 7 = 39
N.V. 14 9 12 13 = 48
Borderites still winless in league play
Their first league victory proved elusive for the Lady B’s as they dropped Tuesday night’s game at Nooksack by six, 34 – 40. Sophomore Lusia Wood was high point for Blaine with eight. The girls next play fourth-ranked Lynden Christian there tomorrow night at 7:30.
Season closes with win
The Borderite Grapplers beat Nooksack 39-31 Tuesday night out on the Sumas Prairie 39-31 with Calvin Moore (145) and Shane Hicks (171) getting pins. The post-season tournaments begin this Saturday at Nooksack with sub districts.