Sequim junior Ethan Hinton started the season with a bad back. Looks like the recovery is coming along quite nicely.
The 189-pounder blew past his first two opponents and outlasted Port Townsend's Gatlin Hanna 6-4 in the finals to win Sequim's first individual championship as the Wolves placed ninth out of 17 teams at the 11th annual Rainshadow Tournament in Sequim Jan. 4-5.
Thomas Gallagher (275 pounds) took third while Joe Hutchison (135) and Alex O'Donnell (152) each placed fourth.
The Wolves saw Columbia River's Chieftans score 198.5 points and cruise to a team victory, their second consecutive Rainshadow title, while cross-peninsula rival Port Angeles was second with 154 points after finishing eighth last year and 18th in 2005-06.
After going 0-2 at Rainshadow two years ago and not competing last year, Hinton looked as if possessed, controlling both Cedarcrest's Darren Collinwood and Thomas Jefferson's Zach Roth in rounds two and three by identical 7-0 scores. That set up the final win against Hanna.
"Both wrestlers are juniors, so expect to see a strong rivalry at this weight the rest of this year and next," Sequim coach Len Borchers said.
Hinton is now 7-1.
Gallagher made perhaps his most impressive showing in the sophomore's young wrestling career. After earning pins in rounds one and two, Gallagher got pinned himself by Ryan Ransavage of Mount Si, then smacked the gymnasium wall in frustration. Instead of folding, Gallagher showed his poise by pinning Clover Park's Andrew Martinez in 1:05 and out-dueling Kingston's Gage Leigh in the consolation finals, 1-0.
O'Donnell earned an impressive, 11-9 win against Paul Johnson of Thomas Jefferson in round one, then pinned Cale Levengood of Kingston to earn a spot in the semifinals. But he ran into powerhouse Brett Johnson of Port Townsend and got pinned in the first round. O'Donnell came back with a 6-3 win against Keith Robert of Bainbridge Island before defaulting in the consolation finals.
"Alex started a little late but is a very skilled wrestler and will be competing with the best in the region in a few weeks," Borchers said.
Hutchison ran into some tough luck running into rival Jordan Johnson not once but twice in the 135-pounders' brackets. After a first-round win, Hutchison slipped in round two to Johnson and three consecutive wins in the consolation brackets. In the consolation finals, he met - and lost once again - to Johnson, this time a third-round pin. Hutchison retains the most individual wins of any Sequim wrestler this season with 18.
Taylor Gowdy (125 pounds) and David Copeland (171) each went 2-2 and came within a win of a spot on the medal stand. Both of Copelend's wins were second-round pins; he lost a tight, 8-6 match to Port Townsend's Christian DuBois in the consolation semifinal. Gowdy is now 15-7 for the season.
Mike Bereiter continues to improve, Borchers said, with one win in three tries, his first varsity win of the season. Junior Paden Sutterby lost a 4-2 and 5-4 decision at 140 pounds, narrowly missing a win.
Freshmen Dalton Ackley (145 pounds) and Vito Cibene (215) saw their first varsity action last weekend.
"Both of these kids have a great attitude, work hard in practice and will be a big part of our program in 2009-2011," Borchers said.
The Wolves (1-2 in league, 2-5 overall) take on Kingston at home Jan. 10 and travel to Bainbridge Island for a tournament Jan. 12.