Spartan grapplers try to find solid footing

Zach Smith goes for the leg of Ian Brooks during wrestling practice recently. - JIM BRYANT photos
Zach Smith goes for the leg of Ian Brooks during wrestling practice recently.
— image credit: JIM BRYANT photos

Experience holds its own, while young blood is still learning lessons on the mat.

The Bainbridge wrestling team is grappling with polarities.

Four proven wrestlers have started the season strong, combining for a total match record of 35-10.

But their younger teammates are still getting schooled on the mat.

“The elite wrestlers are all holding their own,” coach Steve Hohl said. “The young wrestlers are paying their dues, while gaining experience.”

Performing well are senior captain, Zach Smith, with a 9-1 record, and juniors Ian Brooks at 9-2 and Brian Robert at 8-3. Sophomore Dan Hammond has only four losses against his nine wins. The four wrestle in the middle weight classes, ranging from Smith at 130 pounds to Robert at 152.

Bainbridge was felled in Metro league meets to O’Dea and Bishop Blanchet – the first by a 45-31 count, the latter by 63-15 – before the holiday break.

Against O’Dea, junior Anna Lyons saved another three points by lasting three rounds, with a final decision of 9-0.

Smith pinned his opponnent half way through the second period for six points. Hammond impressed in an exhibition match, after collecting six points on a forfeit at 135 pounds. Both results sent Bainbridge ahead 24-18.

Brooks outpointed his foe 3-1 in the 145, and Beau Green won 6-3 at 152 pounds.

But the Spartans lost momentum, and the lead, when O’Dea’s Jalonn Wilkins outlasted Roberts in a 3-1 decision. O’Dea took the three points to nudge ahead 31-30, then won two straight matches to pin down the Metro Conference victory.

The results were kinder than the Blanchet match.

“We did not match up well,” Hohl said of the lopsided defeat. “Where they were weak we were younger. Where we were strong they were strong, with little chance to pick up points.”

The mat experience of Smith led to the few Bainbridge highlights in the Blanchet loss. Wrestling at 130 pounds, the Spartan football running back pinned Matt Foss in 1:33 for the six points in the 130-pound weight class, getting a bit of a charge going for the team.

Ian Brooks then pinned Evan Thorpe one minute 13 seconds into the second round of the 145-pound match.

He was followed by Brian Robert who outlasted Myles Wellein with a 7-2 decision for three points.

Last Saturday, the mat men traveled to the Highline Community College Tournament to gain experience; there, they fell to Mount Rainier and Capital, dropping to a 6-4 overall record, 1-2 in Metro play.

The Spartans lost to Mount Rainier 48-29, with Smith, Brook, Hammond and Robert winning. Lyon picked up her first victory of the season by forfeit.

The next match againt Capital began in promising fashion. After Hammond and Brook won on points, Robert and sophomore David Winship pinned for 12 points to tie it up at 30.

But a series of forfeits and a sub-minute pin of freshman Robert Ferguson put the match out of reach, as Capital prevailed 42-36.

The team is out of action until their next competitions Dec. 28-30 at the North Mason Classic. They open the new year on the evening of Jan. 4 at Chief Sealth before traveling to the Rainshadow tournament Jan. 7-8, while the JV wrestling squad will appear at the Shoreline Invitational.

Their next home match is the Island Invitational, Jan. 15 at Paski Gymnasium.

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