North Mason wrestlers showed their mat prowess last week in Sequim, downing the host Wolves 61-15 in an Olympic League match on Jan. 14.
The Bulldogs earned seven pins and won nine of the 11 nonforfeited matches of the evening.
Cody Field got Sequim's lone pin of the evening, putting Bulldog 135-pounder Collin Richburg to the mat in three minutes, 45 seconds.
"We knew they were good," Sequim coach Len Borchers said. "We didn't have all of our starting lineup but I was impressed (with the effort)."
But this was a much more fierce battle than the score lets on. Following Dakota Hinton's last minute, come-from-behind 10-6 win against North Mason 152-pounder Page Lefler, Sequim briefly held a 15-13 lead.
"I had to do something," said Hinton, who trailed Lefler 6-5 with less than 30 seconds remaining. "He was pretty tough."
In three of the next five matches - all Bulldog pins - Sequim grapplers, many of them reserves wrestling varsity because of injuries, held off their more experienced foes until the second or third rounds.
In Devin Bellis' 171-pound match, the Sequim freshman took on highly touted Eric McCallister and nearly pinned the Bulldog with a deft reversal in the second round, before getting pinned with five seconds left in the period.
At 189 pounds, junior Derek Morgan lasted until late in the second round versus experienced North Mason grappler Ryan Khun while Sequim 215-pounder Clay Charley battled Robert Vandling, ranked No. 3 in the state by washingtonwrestling report.com, until getting pinned with 18 seconds left in the third period.
Sequim junior Derek Fruin also put up a strong fight against Rene Gaspar, another experienced Bulldog, before succumbing in the second round at 119 pounds.
"They've got to learn what it's really like," Borchers said. "They don't get to see it every day in practice. They did a lot of things well, lasting until the second or third period (by) defending themselves. That's where you start."
In all, Sequim's lineup last week featured 10 wrestlers with either freshman or sophomore status.
Hinton, a sophomore with a 16-7 mark this season, said the Wolves only are going to get better, even if the younger wrestlers are getting pinned.
"(Losses help) make you tough mentally," he said. "The longer you go (in a match), the better off you are later."
Sequim hosts Klahowya on Jan. 20 and wrestles at Kingston on Jan. 21, the final regular match of the season. The Wolves' sub-district tournament is set for Feb. 6 at home.
Wolves finish 10th at Bainbridge tourney
Different year, quite different results.
After finishing second at the Bainbridge Island Invitational last season, Sequim's much younger Wolfpack took 10th overall this season, seeing five grapplers earn top-five finishes.
Field, a sophomore, led the Wolves with a third-place finish at 135 pounds while teammates Mustang Riggins (140 pounds) and Andrew Gowdy (160 pounds) each placed fourth. Heavyweight Brian Bearden earned a pin of North Kitsap's Brenden Best in the second round to take fifth place while Winston Babb also earned a fifth-place finish by pinning North Kitsap's Garrett Belinski, also in the second round.
Also placing in the top eight spots for Sequim were: Kenny Griffith (seventh, 112 pounds), Bellis (seventh, 171), Luke Mooney (eighth, 130), Lopaka Yasumura (eighth, 145) and Kawika Yasumura (eighth, 160).
Reach Michael Dashiell at firstname.lastname@example.org.