Sports

Metro champion Spartans finish big at districts, head to state

Members of the Bainbridge High School wrestling team gather around their Metro League trophy after the team’s big win at the conference meet at Nathan Hale High. The Spartan wrestlers will head to the state meet in the Tacoma Dome for the 25th edition of the Mat Classic. - Brian Kelly / Bainbridge Island Review
Members of the Bainbridge High School wrestling team gather around their Metro League trophy after the team’s big win at the conference meet at Nathan Hale High. The Spartan wrestlers will head to the state meet in the Tacoma Dome for the 25th edition of the Mat Classic.
— image credit: Brian Kelly / Bainbridge Island Review

Next stop, the Tacoma Dome.

The Bainbridge Spartans finished in fifth place in 3A Region 1 wrestling tournament this past weekend, following behind Stanwood, Oak Harbor, Ferndale and Marysville-Pilchuck.

Five Bainbridge athletes who finished in the top four will advance to the state meet, the Mat Classic, in Tacoma this weekend.

The state-bound Spartans are Dylan Read (138-pound class), Bryce MacDonald (160), Weber Coryell (170), Tyler Moniz (182) and Mike Grant (220).

Three other Bainbridge athletes placed fifth and will head to state as alternates; Jack Miller (132), Joaquin Gurza (145) and Alex Hoover (152).

Liam Topham also placed at the Region 1 championships. He came in sixth in the 138-pound class.

The outstanding showing came after the Spartans brought home their biggest team prize of the season: the Metro League championship.

Bainbridge bested rival O’Dea and finished with 224 points.  The Fighting Irish had to settle for second with 186.

The Spartans had their eye on the team title entering the Metro tourney.

“The expectation was, the championship was ours. And we had to wrestle like we prepared to wrestle and that we would take it if we went and got it,” said Spartan Coach Scott Druker.

Stanley Pasion (113-pound class), a ninth-grader, got things rolling early for BHS.

Pasion won in 52 seconds in a fall against Gabe Briggs of Blanchet in the opening round, then triumphed with a 6-5 decision over Anthony Tran of West Seattle to advance.

Quinn Damon of Nathan Hale, the eventual titleist, stopped Pasion at the 1:03 mark in their match.

In the consolation bracket, Pasion was stopped by Chris Moore of Nathan Hale in 4:06, but then won against Jonatan Castillo of Lakeside. Pasion finished in fifth place.

Jonathan Gallivan (120) placed fourth for BHS.

After a first-round bye, Gallivan beat Malik Ford of Rainier Beach prevailed with a fall at the 5:48 mark.

Jesse Marek of Blanchet edged Gallivan with a 14-0 major decision.

Gallivan then beat Liam Kinkead of Ingraham in an 8-2 decision.

He then competed for third place in the league, but was edged 2-1 by Nick Marek of West Seattle.

The Spartans’ Christian VanWagner (126) finished in sixth place at the league meet. Fellow Spartan Chaney Weaver was eighth in the class.

VanWagner made quick work of Nick Linden of Ingraham, winning in 23 seconds with a fall, then faced Aa Saeteurn of Rainier Beach.

VanWagner advances with a fall at the 3:24 mark.

He followed with another win by fall at 2:45 against Ian Belicina of Franklin, before losing in a 7-4 decision to Tom Lane of Blanchet.

Elsewhere in the bracket, Weaver was also advancing for Bainbridge.

After a first-round bye, he beat Jack Choulasphan of Cleveland with a fall (3:42).

Jacob O’Donnell stopped Weaver in his next match, however, at the 1:49 mark.

Miller was the champion for Bainbridge in the 132 weight class.

Miller, had a first-round bye, but beat Kallum Broderick of O’Dea in the second with a 2:24 fall.

He then tested Ronald Lam of Franklin in a 9-2 decision before facing Sam Bell of O’Dea for the title.

Miller, a ninth-grader, won the crown with a 3-2 decision over Bell, a junior.

Coach Druker said Miller was wresting a more experienced grappler who had gone undefeated in the league. It was also a first-time meeting for both.

“His confidence grew as the match went on,” the coach recalled.

“Once Jack believes what he is capable of, once he got a little taste of what he’s capable of — wow, that works,” Druker said.

“Once he got ahead, it was really clear he wasn’t going to give up that lead. He wrestled very smart, very composed,” the coach said.

Dylan Read won the Metro title for the Spartans in the 138 weight class.

Read also sat out the first round with a bye, but beat Tanner Eggert of Eastside Catholic in 1:09 to advance to a matchup against Kongo Taggart of Nathan Hale.

Read prevailed in 3:42, then won the championship with a 9-6 decision over Nate Turner of O’Dea.

The Spartan was behind in points early in the match, and Druker recalled the two had tangled before with Read coming out on top. Turner was ready for the rematch.

“He learned from that and scouted Dylan really well,” he said.

“He was taking away a lot of what Dylan had been successful with,” he said.

But one major mistake proved to be the turning point and Read powered his way to the title.

“He threw him to his back. That was definitely the difference in the match,” Drucker said.

Fellow Spartan Topham finished third in the class.

He beat Rumaldo Hernandez of Chief Sealth in a 13-12 first-round matchup, then stopped Noah Traynor of Blanchet with a 14-0 major decision.

But in the semifinals, Topham faced Turner, the eventual second-place winner who edged Topham in 3;32 to advance to the final against Reed.

Topham then beat Hernandez of Chief Sealth with a 10-3 decision.

He faced Taggert in the matchup for third place and won in a 5-4 decision in the fourth overtime.

In the 145 class, Gurza was second.

The sophomore had a first-round bye, then bested Jacob Neumann of Blanchet in 2:3.

Gurza then outmaneuvered Teddy O’Brien of Nathan Hale with a 5-2 decision.

John Crutcher of Lakeside claimed the championship, however, with a 9-7 overtime win.

It looked for a long time that Gurza would win.

“He was really dominating the action; he was pushing. He took the match into overtime,” Druker said.

He made one position mistake, the coach said, and got caught on it.

Still, the match was a major milestone for the Spartan sophomore.

“He has grown so much through the season. He had a great tournament,” the coach said.

“He came into the tournament unseeded. He had to beat the number one seed to get to the finals; he just had a great tournament.”

Also in the 145, Aaron Jumpa of Bainbridge claimed seventh place. He lost to Marcus Phillips of O’Dea in a 10-1 major decision, then the freshman rebounded to beat Tristan Mohn of O’Dea with a 6-2 decision for his first Metro League Championship win.

Alex Hoover won the Metro crown in the 152 for Bainbridge.

The senior started his Metro League romp with a second-round victory over Austin Chang of Nathan Hale with a 24-second win.

He moved into the championship round after a 4:31 win against Mike Mcknight of Rainier Beach.

The title match was one for the ages.

Hoover won in a 1-0 decision in four overtimes.

“I’ve never seen a match going zero-zero into the fourth overtime,” the coach said.

“It wasn’t a dud match,” Druker added.

“Those guys were fighting and counter fighting and wrestling and counter wrestling. They were working really hard.”

Smart wrestling at the end proved to be the difference.

“Alex had a great game plan; he knew exactly what the kid from O’Dea wanted to do and never let him do it,” Druker said.

In the fourth OT, Hoover took the down position for strategy’s sake.

“He started on the bottom, an Alex just needed one escape, one point, to win the match. And he went and got it.”

It was a dramatic finish, given that Hoover had pretty good success throughout the match at getting to his feet, but, as his coach noted, he never got away.

In the 160-pound class, Bryce MacDonald finished in second for Bainbridge.

MacDonald posted his first win in 55 ticks against Sebastiano Piraino of Ingraham.

The Spartan then advanced to the championship round with a 10-1 major decision win over Peter Scott of Lakeside.

In the final round, Jasper Bourgette of Nathan Hale won the title with a 5-0 decision.

“He just couldn’t overcome some of the skills the other kid had,” Druker said.

Weber Coryell was also second in the 170.

He beat Elija Williams of Rainier Beach with a 1:10 fall, then took Liam Comidy of Ingraham to the mat in 1:48.

Coryell fell to Mike Hodges of Nathan Hale in the championship round.

“Weber was pushing the match the whole match. Weber took all the shots,” Druker said.

Hodges capitalized on Coryell’s single mistake, however, for the victory.

Druker said it’s a mistake that Coryell shouldn’t dwell on.

“He’s just got to move on and trust himself. It’s not going to serve him well to be cautious now,” he said.

The Spartans’ Tyler Moniz won the league title in the 182-pound class.

The path to the championship started and finished quickly. Moniz dropped Luke Riley of Blanchet in nine seconds.

The Spartan senior then outlasted Daron Camacho of Chief Sealth in 5:42 to advance to the title round against Connor Heger of Eastside Catholic.

The senior schooled the sophomore, though, as Moniz won in 1:21 against his Crusader counterpart.

John Zhang (195) finished sixth for BHS.

He lost in his first match again Chief Sealth’s Dante Smith, then was edged by eventual third-place winner Isiah Griffith of Nathan Hale in an overtime battle that ended in a 4-2 decision for Griffith.

Mike Grant earned second place for the Spartans in the 220 class.

Grant fought Montique Edwards of O’Dea to a 3:48 finish, only to advance to a final-round battle against David Hurdle of Eastside Catholic.

Hurdle emerged as the eventual champion with a 5-4 decision.

“Mike showed tons of resilience in coming back and pushing it and pushing it,” Druker said.

Time was the real enemy, he said.

“Had there been another 10 seconds, Mike would have come out on top. He just ran out of time,” he said.

Bainbridge won the Metro League Championship with a team score of 223.

O’Dea was second with 189, and Nathan Hale third, at 167.

The Spartans also collected four individual first-place titles, four second-place wins, and had seven other wresters place.

Hoover was named one of the league’s two outstanding wresters.

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