For the first time in three years, the Wolves won't be sending a wrestler to compete in the MatClassic state tournament.
Three wrestlers took a shot at advancing to state — Luke Mooney (138 pounds), Royhon Agostine and Kaylee Ditlefsen — but couldn't quite overcome tough competition.
Mooney, Sequim's lone boy returning state competitor from last year, faced some familiar faces at the 2A District meet in Bremerton. In his first match, he defeated Abraham Cuevas (Renton) in a 15-8 decision but lost his second match 4-3 to Tanner Ackerly of R.A. Long in what could have gone either way, coaches said.
“He (Ackerly) was a good wrestler,” coach Charles Drabek said.
“There were a couple of things that could have gone our way and a few little things Luke could have done differently.”
Connor Veach of Klahowya, whom Mooney pinned at the subregionals in Port Angeles two weekends ago, returned the favor to pin him to stay alive in the bracket for third place. Mooney then beat Cuevas again 11-9 for fifth place and to claim an alternate slot for state.
Drabek said Mooney looked strong and was leading against Veach before it turned around.
“It's tough because I look at who Veach beat for third and I think Luke could have beat that kid,” he said.
Agostine (126 pounds) went 1-3 in his matches to earn sixth place.
Ozzy Swagerty of Port Angeles defeated Agostine 8-0, pushing him to the consolation bracket where he pinned Jaccavann Oung (Evergreen), but then lost in successive matches by 10-3 and 13-5.
Drabek said Agostine wrestled well his first two matches but began reverting to some old ways.
“He knows what he's got to do,” Drabek said. “We'll look to change his and the other kids' drills probably to add more muscle memory exercises so things become second nature.”
Both Agostine and Drabek anticipate making a trek to state next year.
“He still has another year,” Drabek said. “We're going to work on it this summer at the camps and get plenty more mat time before next winter season.”
The Wolves lone lady wrestler vying for state, Ditlefsen (130), faced a tough day in Battleground. She went 1-3 and was pinned in every match to take sixth place and an alternate spot for state.
Coach Bill Schroepfer said against Mariah Horton (Kelso) in her first match, Ditlefsen was pinned in the final seconds of the third period.
She recovered to pin Emily Birdseye (Highline) in the second round but was pinned by Raven Rogers of Ilwaco, who is ranked fourth in the state.
In the fifth place match, Schroepfer said Ditlefsen battled back and forth with Natasha Williams of Skyview until the third period when Williams reversed Ditlefsen for the pin.
“It was a very tough bracket to wrestle in,” Schroepfer said. “Both the No. 1 ranked girl in state (Erin Locke from Washougal) and Raven Rogers were in the bracket as well as other very tough wrestlers that should place this year in state. All we can do for this season is hope that someone does not make weight so that Kaylee can show everyone at state what she is made of,” Schroepfer said.
While Agostine, Ditlefsen and Mooney wrestled, Brandon Field and Sophia Cornell served as alternates but did not wrestle.
Except for this season and in the 2009-2010 season, Sequim has sent a wrestler to state every year since 1995.
As the coaches have reiterated all year, this season was a building year.
“Put your time in because that's the way it is,” Drabek said. “It'll pay off later.”
The Wolves didn't win a meet (0-12) this season but Drabek said their first step is establishing a more solid lineup without injuries or illness.
“We have to get our kids some more experience,” he said. “The freshmen this year seemed really focused on wrestling, but it'll still be a building year next year, just not as tough.”
Coaches anticipate a strong girls' squad next year, too.
Schroepfer said Ditlefsen will continue to work hard in the offseason and be a strong competitor next year while Emily Halverson will surprise a lot of people in her third year of wrestling.
Cornell, he said, had things clicking for her at subregionals and it was unfortunate her season ended the way it did.
“She wrestled the best I have seen her wrestle,” he said.
The team also will welcome back Ashley Baltrusitis, who was ill most of the season, and incoming middle schoolers and newcomers.