Grapplers muscle way to tourney win

The king is dead! Long live the Spartans!

After 12 consecutive years of dominance, the O’Dea Irish had their string of Metro League Wrestling Tournament victories snapped by Bainbridge on Friday at Nathan Hale High School.

The Spartans outscored the Irish 251.5-228.5, with three individuals bringing home first place medals.

Seniors Alonso Valenzuela (112 pounds) and Nick McCallum (215) and sophomore Zach Smith (125) all won by decision in the finals.

The top four competitors in each weight classification move on to next week’s Regionals, and the island grapplers qualified in 12 of the 14 weights.

Losing in the finals gave 2nd place decisions to John-Michael King (130), Angelo Ritualo (135), Dan Bachen (152), and Peter Mandell (189). Garnering 3rd places were Stevie Devine (103), Curtis Nelsen (145), and Billy Thomas (171), while Brian Robert (119) and Corey Guy (140) filled the 4th and final slots.

Preparing for the Regionals, which begin at 10 a.m. Saturday at Buckley’s White River High School, is “going back to basics” coach Steve Hohl said.

“We’re not looking to add anything exotic,” he said, “just work on conditioning and perfecting favorite moves so everyone will have something to fall back on in a tight situation.”


***Swimmers left in O’Dea’s wake

Bainbridge and the rest of the Metro League found out what a swimming juggernaut O’Dea really is Friday at the league championships at Helene Madison pool in North Seattle.

The Irish compiled 342.50 points, swamping the nearest competition by almost 150 points.

The Spartans, who finished 3rd during the regular season, dropped two spots to 5th with 110 points.

Five Spartans will advance to next week’s district meet at the Hec Edmundson Pool on the University of Washington campus by virtue of finishing in the top six in the finals.

Freshman Jake Santelli qualified in two events, finishing a team-best 3rd in the 200 IM and 5th in the 100 breaststroke.

Also finishing well in the finals were senior Jacob Whitmore (5th – 200 free), Tristan Stringer (5th – 50 free), Nate Rooks (6th – 500 free), and Matt Colley (4th – 100 back).

The 400 freestyle relay, consisting of Rooks, Colley, junior Chris Collier, and Whitmore recorded an excellent 3rd at 3:34.96.

Swimmers could also qualify to move on by besting district standards. Doing so were Rooks and Collier in the 50 free, senior Russell Carroll and frosh Aaron Smith, the 100 fly, and Whitmore and Stringer, 100 free.

If facing O’Dea wasn’t daunting enough, the Spartans and the remainder of the league will face the exceptionally talented Kingco Conference and the odds-on favorite to eventually win the state title, Mercer Island, at Districts.

The prelims commence this Friday at 5 p.m., with finals on Saturday afternoon.

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