McCallum finishes eighth at State

The greatest show on Earth?

With apologies to Misters Ringling, Barnum and Bailey, it’s got to be the state wrestling championships, aka the 15th annual Mat Classic, at the Tacoma Dome.

The numbers were staggering: four classifications (1A/B, 2A, 3A, and 4A), 14 weight classes, 896 participants, and 1,680 matches on 24 mats in an area a little bigger than a football field. Amid this organized confusion stood three young men from Bainbridge, each with hopes of bringing home the gold for themselves and glory for BHS.

Of the Spartans, senior Nick McCallum seemed the least affected by the large cheering crowd since it was his second trip to the Classic. He won his first match in the 215-pound bracket, decisioning his opponent decisively, 7-1. Then, facing stiffer competition, he proceeded to lose three of his next four matches, settling for 8th place and final ribbon.

Junior John-Michael King (130) and sophomore Zach Smith (125) both were eliminated early in the competition. Smith won his first match over a number one seed, 17-15 on a late takedown and near fall, before losing two straight. And for King, who never was able to mount an offensive, it was “two and through.”

As expected, defending champion Sedro Woolley won the 3A championship. The Spartans finished somewhere between the Cubs’ 125 points and number 66 finisher River Ridge, who actually finished at minus-1 because one of their wrestlers threw his headgear after being pinned and his team had a point deducted for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Coach Steve Hohl saw a lot of positive in the tournament results. “I’m happy for Nick,” he said, “and I know it’s been a learning experience for the two younger guys. Hopefully they and the other underclassmen who were watching from the stands will do what it takes to make it here next year.”

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