Wrestlers fifth at Invitational

At last weekend’s 21st annual Island Invitational meet, the first round of wrestling was an exciting one for Bainbridge head coach Steve Hohl, with eight of his 10 varsity wrestlers advancing by pin-falls.

“This is really great!” Hohl said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better start.”

The Spartan team has typically forfeited a number of the lightest and heaviest weight class matches, but Saturday’s lineup was nearly full -- with only the 103, 112 and 275 slots vacant for Bainbridge.

Zach Smith and John-Michael King pushed, pulled, pounded and pinned their way into the final round, both earning championship spots at the end of the day.

Smith powered through his first two matches, solidly defeating Trenton Murray and Josh Little. His final match against Eastside Catholic’s Shawn McGarvey was more of the same -- Smith raced out to a 7-1 score in the first two minutes. The junior added two more points before putting McGarvey on his back 60 seconds into the second period for the win.

John-Michael King paired off with Mercer Island’s Jackson Embley in the finals. King held a 6-2 lead going into the last two minutes, and though Embley earned a two-point reversal, it wasn’t enough to best the Spartan senior.

King’s 8-4 decision put him at the top of the 130-pound weight class.

Sophomore Brian Robert also had a banner day, blazing through the opening round and upsetting Blanchet’s Logan Little with a close 6-5 win in the second.

But in the end, the experience of Mercer Island senior Aaron Cahoon prevailed, leaving Robert in second place overall after a 6-0 loss.

Wrestling at 140, freshman Dan Hammond pinned Crusader Andrew Dickens before falling to Mercer’s Kyle Agnew.

Hammond worked back through the consolation bracket, recording a late-match fall against Brian Hill of Eastside Catholic, but couldn’t overpower Blanchet’s Evan Thorpe.

The pair spent most of the first two minutes circling each other, with Thorpe finally striking first. His 10-0 win put Hammond in fourth place for the Spartans.

The 145 weight class was lean on bodies, with only five wrestlers competing, but still stiff competition for Spartan sophomore Beau Green. Green’s first-round bye put him up against Blanchet’s Miles Wellein, who sent the sophomore down to the next bracket with an 18-10 loss.

Against Matt Forester, Green got a reprieve from the buzzer at the end of the first period, as Forester had him tucked in a near-fall position. Green scuttled his way out of bounds after Forester brought him down again, and eventually succumbed to the Meadowdale wrestler after injuring his left leg.

Patrick Macala, a 119-pounder for the Spartans, advanced through the first round by pinning Port Townsend’s Walker Schwartzman, but dropped down to the consolation bracket with a quick loss to Blanchet’s Mark Malijan.

Macala battled back though, in a tough match against Matt Foss. With the score tied at 5-5 in the third period, Macala whipped out a spectacular two-point reversal after being spun 720 degrees on his back.

Meadowdale’s Nate Perrin proved to be too much for Macala in the next round though, and he was pinned at 2:49 in the match.

At 152, Bobby Stowell pounced on Blanchet’s Andrew Polich, but Port Townsend grappler Sloan Gutierrez pinned Stowell in the subsequent match.

Stowell sent Arthur Carlise to the showers with a shoulder injury in his first consolation round match-up, and faced Blanchet’s Andrew Polich in a battle for third.

The pair see-sawed for three-and-a-half minutes before Stowell picked up Polich in an attempt to slam him down to the mat -- a plan that went horribly wrong as Polich landed on Stowell, flipped over and pinned him on his back.

David Winship dropped out of contention with a first-round loss to Blanchet’s Steve Little, and had little luck in his next pair of contests.

Billy Thomas came out strong and thumped Mike Baginski in the opening round, but a loss to North Mason standout Kyle Polhamus sent Thomas packing.

“That kid’s a buzzsaw,” Hohl said of Polhamus. “He’s good.”

Thomas answered with a victory over Cameron Jevne, winning with a pin after an amazing reversal. His next match was against Blanchet’s Sam McNaughton, who ran up a 10-2 score before Thomas suffered an injury that effectively ended his day in fourth place.

Elliott Thompson was knocked out of the first round by Port Townsend’s Jake St. Claire, and fell to eventual third-place winner Steven Strausz of Mercer Island. Thompson took sixth place overall for the Spartans.

New heavyweight recruit Earl Young won his first-ever wrestling match at 215 pounds, toppling Chris Sisneros of Eastside Catholic, but took a few lumps in the next three rounds and placed sixth for the Spartans.

Team results: 1 Mercer Island, 242; 2 Blanchet, 187; 3 Port Townsend, 148.5; 4 Meadowdale, 142; 5 Bainbridge, 139; 6 North Mason, 102.5; 7 Forks, 73.5; 8 Eastside Catholic, 73.

Individual results: 103 -- 1 Sean Embly (MI); 112 -- 1 Kai Bruno (MD); 119 -- 1 Mark Malijan (BL), 4 Patrick Macala (BI); 125 -- 1 Zach Smith (BI); 130 -- 1 John-Michael King (BI); 135 -- 1 Aaron Cahoon (MI), 2 Brian Robert (BI); 140 -- 1 Keith Johnson (PT), 4 Dan Hammond (BI); 145 -- 1 Erik Sprint (MI), 5 Beau Green (BI); 152 -- 1 Sloan Gutierrez (PT), 4 Bobby Stowell (BI); 160 -- 1 Andrew Parker (MI); 171 -- 1 Kyle Polhamus (NM), 4 Billy Thomas (BI); 189 -- 1 R.J. Power (MD), 6 Elliott Thompson (BI); 215 -- 1 Jesse Johnson (MI), 6 Earl Young (BI); 275 -- 1 Jim White (FK).

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