Wrestlers fall to O’Dea, 39-27

With several team members missing, the Spartan wrestling team lost 39-27 at O’Dea on Friday, virtually guaranteeing that the Irish will win the Metro League dual meet championship.

Coach Steve Hohl conceded that scheduling an important match at the end of the holiday break was a mistake.

“I won’t do that again,” he said, noting that a few of his wrestlers were out of town, another suffered a snowboarding ankle injury and yet another misunderstood the starting time and missed the ferry.

The random draw for the starting weight of match favored the Irish, who began with four upperclassmen against inexperienced Spartans and jumped out to a quick 23-0 lead.

Dan Bachen, wrestling at 160 pounds, finally got Bainbridge on the board with an 11-5 win. Brian Cook (171) followed with a fall at 3:13, Peter Mandell (189) emerged with a 10-6 decision and Nick McCallum (215) scored a fall at 3:10.

When Seth Paradox (275) won the fifth Spartan match in a row with a 5-2 decision, the team was back in the hunt as they only trailed 23-21.

After an O’Dea pin at 103, Alonso Valenzuela (112) and Zach Smith (119) won respective 4-2 and 5-1 decisions to again narrow the margin to two at 29-27. But O’Dea won the final two matches via fall and major decision for the final margin.

The Spartans finished behind O’Dea again on Saturday at the Shoreline Invitational, placing third in the eight-team tournament with 186 points, while the Irish had 197 for second. Shorecrest won with 225.5 points.

The Spartans had three individual champions: Smith, Mandell and McCallum, who wrestled up a weight at 275.

Smith opened the tournament with a fall at 1:28, then won a 20-11 decision in his next match. But he trailed 5-3 late in the championship match against a Nathan Hale senior whom Hohl described “as seeking revenge for having looked past a freshman” and being pinned in less than a minute when the teams met in December. Smith scored an escape, then took his man down with 10 seconds left for a 6-5 win.

Mandell opened with a pin at 2:30, won 3-0 in his second match, then pinned an O’Dea wrestler he’d decisioned the day before at 2:26.

McCallum began his day with a fall at :38, then followed with 2-0 and 7-1 decisions.

Four Spartan wrestlers took thirds by winning three matches and losing only once: Stevie Devine (103, who had a first-round fall and 9-0 and 14-2 decisions), Valenzuela, Jacob Hayashi (152) and Cook.

Bachen (160) placed fourth with a 2-2 record.

Five Spartans had fifth places: Paradox (215) won two and lost one, while John-Michael King (125), Nick Sturza (130), Garrett Roe (135) and Justin Thorpe all posted 2-2 marks. Billy Thomas (145) won one match to place sixth.

The team hosts Forks on Friday in what Hohl terms a “low-key match” before Saturday’s Island Invitational.

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