Grapplers bulk up for 'the real season'

Mason Remy holds onto West Seattle’s Michael Oliver during a  match Thursday at Bainbridge. Remy won  16-11.  The Spartans won 34-21.  - JULIE BUSCH photo
Mason Remy holds onto West Seattle’s Michael Oliver during a match Thursday at Bainbridge. Remy won 16-11. The Spartans won 34-21.
— image credit: JULIE BUSCH photo

The Spartans ready for the post-season after notching three straight wins.

The Bainbridge wrestling team has worked hard during the regular season, but for many, the real climb to a title starts next week.

“This is the start of our season,” co-head coach Dan Pippinger said. “Nothing counts anymore. Everyone’s 0-0. Your season record doesn’t matter. Districts is where it’s at. You gotta be ready for Districts.”

The Spartans went 3-1 over the past two weeks to set up for the postseason, losing to Eastside Catholic 45-30 Jan. 17, but defeating Nathan Hale 46-19 on Jan. 19, Chief Sealth 42-33 on Tuesday and West Seattle 34-21 in the last regular season meet on Thursday.

Brian Robert looks to be in great shape for the postseason. The senior, who usually competes in the 152-pound category, won three matches by pinfall and one by decision over Justin Kiel of West Seattle 10-3 in the 171-pound category. This was his last regular season match at home.

Robert said he’s ready to go. His main competition is Jalonn Wilkins from O’Dea, who placed fourth at 152 pounds at State last year.

“I’ve wrestled him before,” Robert said. “I hope to beat him, and I’m sure I’ll see him again in regionals.”

Ian Brooks also should be ready to go, according to Pippinger. The senior is still recovering from a knee injury, but was at practice on Wednesday.

“Nothing’s gonna stop him,” Pippinger said. “He’s going to figure out what he needs to do to make it to the next step. He’s a tough kid.”

Pippinger expects some of his younger wrestlers to be seeded at the Metro tournament as well.

Matthew Ritualo is one of the favorites. The sophomore, who wrestles at 119, won two matches by forefeit and two by decision, the former 8-1 over Eastside Catholic’s Justin Lobdell, the latter an exciting 14-13 decision over Delano Jordan of West Seattle.

Neither wrestler was ahead by more than two the entire match, as Ritualo scored a takedown with seconds to go to pull out the victory.

Sophomore Keith Robert is another favorite to move on, as his only loss came to Eastside Catholic’s standout freshman A.J. Hostak.

Robert won two matches by forefeit and pinned West Seattle’s Keith Jacobsen in the 112-pound category in 4:35.

“I’m proud of our young guys,” co-head coach Britton Johnson said. “They looked great out there.”

Pippinger agreed.

“We’ve been drilling them all year,” he said. “They had to pick it up sometime.”

Pippinger thinks that Eli Narte, Patrick Macala and Robert Ferguson could receive seeding as well.

Narte won two matches by pinfall, but lost by a 10-1 decision to Dionn Ferry of West Seattle.

Ferguson won a match by pinfall over Eastside Catholic’s Matt Finani and defeated Nathan Hale’s Will Wong by a 9-2 decision.

Macala, who competes in the 125-pound category, won two matches, defeating Eastside Catholic’s Kyle Ohashi by an 8-4 decision and Nathan Hale’s Josh Arndt by a 4-3 decision, as he pulled it out in the last minute.

The senior lost to West Seattle’s Tyler Trulson by an 8-1 decision.

“I was a bit disappointed (with the loss), but I’ll get to wrestle him at Districts,” he said.

And Macala feels he’s prepared for any opponent that steps onto the mat with him.

“I’ve never been one of the star wrestlers, but I’ve improved a lot since my freshman year,” he said. “I can see it, I can feel it and it feels good.”

Pippinger hopes they feel good enough to advance several wrestlers to the district tournament, but they’ll have to go through some tough Metro squads, including Bishop Blanchet.

“Blanchet’s so tough this year,” he said. “We’re not gonna win Metro, but our hope is to get as many guys as we can to the next step. From there, you’re basically two wins away from State.”

Anna Lyons will wrestle at the girls invitational at the Mat Classic unless she qualifies at Districts.

The Spartans host Port Townsend, Sequim, Eastside Catholic and North Kitsap at the Cross-Sound Shootout today at 2 p.m.

The Metro Tournament is Feb. 3-4 at West Seattle High School.

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