Wrestlers throw their weight around vs. O'Dea

Spartan senior Peter Mandell takes the mat against Anders Simmons of O’Dea in the 189-pound class at Tuesday’s meet. Mandell’s pin of Simmons helped the Spartans to a 53-20 victory. - ROGERICK ANAS/Staff Photo
Spartan senior Peter Mandell takes the mat against Anders Simmons of O’Dea in the 189-pound class at Tuesday’s meet. Mandell’s pin of Simmons helped the Spartans to a 53-20 victory.
— image credit: ROGERICK ANAS/Staff Photo

It was nearly 10 p.m. before it was all over, but by the time the smoke cleared the Bainbridge wrestlers had added two marks in the victory column in Tuesday’s first home match of the season.

The Spartans’ mix of seasoned veterans and scrappy newcomers routed the North Mason Bulldogs 43-24, and annulled last season’s only league defeat at the hands of O’Dea with an assertive 53-20 victory, bringing the BHS record to 3-0 (4-1 overall).

The lead against O’Dea came early, with four straight wins and a forfeit in the 130-pound class. Ahead 28-0, the Sparts would give up only four of 13 bouts.

“We were in much better condition than O’Dea,” said assistant coach Dan Pippinger. “Even if we got ourselves into trouble, we were generally able to get out of it by working really hard.”

Spartan Stevie Devine opened the evening in the 103-pound class with a pin at 1:33 in the first period against Mike Beckstead. Next was a five-point decision (12-4) against John Kenney, scored by a barely 112-pound senior Alonso Valenzuela – who came to the match after an hour workout in an effort to make weigh-ins.

Well on his way to a major victory, freshman Brian Robert (119) pulled off a pin against O’Dea’s Andrew Zarate in the last second of his match, showing the grit and determination that continues to impress his coaches.

“We’re really proud of him,” said Pippinger of the freshman’s performance this season. “I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

A fast pin by Zach Smith (0:45) against Cory Beavers and the forfeit at 130 for John-Michael King completed the initial winning streak for Bainbridge.

Sophomores Curtis Nelson (145) and Billy Thomas (171) each won by decision; the balance of the victories came in six-point increments, with seniors Nick McCallum, Peter Mandell and Dan Bachen all winning by pin.

Weigh to go

Against North Mason, things remained much closer than the final score would suggest.

Although the Spartans won their first two matches, giving them a 9-0 lead, the rest of the evening would be more of a tug-of-war with the Bulldogs.

With the notable exception of another fast fall recorded by Smith (1:29) against North Mason’s Shawn Smith, a forfeit at 145 for Nelson and a decision at 152 for Bachen over Mason’s Jesse Sims, the Bulldogs would take the remaining six weight classes under 171.

With only three weight classes left to go, the contest hinged on a single point. But the next three matches would tip the scales heavily – in every sense of the word.

At 189, Mandell made short work of the Bulldogs’ Chris Hicks: a mere 31 seconds netted him a fall and six team points. Then, in a last-minute switch by the Bainbridge coaches, junior Carl Webster – normally at 275 – added the same with the benefit of a forfeit at the 215 level. McCallum, stepping up to 275, quickly dispatched Jordan Cox with a 41-second pin, finishing the match in favor of the Spartans 43-24.

Bainbridge won’t see another home appearance until the 20th Annual Island Invitational Tournament on Jan. 11. Jan. 14 brings West Seattle to the island for the Spartans’ next league challenge.

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