Thirteen proved to be pretty lucky for the Spartans, who emerged from among a baker’s dozen of wrestling teams at the recent Island Invitational ranked solidly in the middle of the pack — and boasting four individual top 10 finishes.
Bainbridge High School junior Garrett Swanson was the team’s champion, finishing first overall in the 106-pound bracket, the best Spartan performance of the day.
The annual event, always a highlight of the BHS wrestling season, saw participants converge in Paski Gymnasium last Saturday from Forks, Blaine, Kennedy Catholic, Highline, Port Angeles, North Mason, Interlake, Kingston, Stadium, Mercer Island, North Kitsap and Olympic.
Forks High School handily claimed the first-place spot overall (229.5 points total), with Blaine (168.5) and Kennedy Catholic (167) in a close battle for second and third, respectively.
Bainbridge took seventh place with a team score of 89 points, just behind North Mason (94.5) and ahead of Interlake (82).
The tournament saw four simultaneous matches going on almost continuously from the event’s start at 9:30 a.m., while still allowing for individuals to have league-mandated breaks between bouts. As there were only about 20 female participants, their matches were held in a separate mid-morning round-robin competition, according to BHS team officials, the results of which were not included in the final bracket.
Swanson, the day’s star Spartan, began his fight to the top of the 106-pound bracket with two byes before facing off against Stadium’s Jorge Gomez, who he pinned in 3:47.
Then, he earned a 17-8 decision win against Ahmed Salim, of Highline.
Finally, he pinned Cole Tate, of North Mason, in 2:47 to secure the championship.
Spartan sophomore Levi Field-Bennett scored a third-place finish in the 126-pound bracket.
After two byes, he pinned Port Angeles’ Raymond Rodriguez in 2:47. Then, he came up short in a 6-4 match against Carson Manns, of Kennedy Catholic.
In his appearance in the consolation bracket, Field-Bennett bested Brandon Lua-Ceja, of Forks, pinning him in just 47 seconds.
Finally, he pinned Sequoia Grippo, of Port Angeles, in 4:33 to earn third place overall.
BHS senior Beck Gibson (152 pounds) also scored a third-place finish.
An explosive grappler quick to bring the pressure, he pinned Kennedy Catholic’s Alex Groot in 1:23 and then Olympic’s Hayden Thompson in 1:02, before losing a 5-0 decision against North Mason’s Alec Bucio.
In the consolation bracket, the senior Spartan pinned North Mason’s Joaquin Victoriano in 1:26 before scoring a 4-3 win against Port Angeles’ Zak Gavin to secure third overall.
Freshman Spartan heavyweight Wyatt Goade (182 pounds) managed a fifth-place finish overall.
He enjoyed an initial bye before being bested by Kingston’s Kyle Clearwater.
In the consolation bracket, he pinned Stadium’s John Brennan in 1:45 before being himself pinned, in 41 seconds, by Blaine’s Luke Westfall.
There is only one home match remaining on the Spartan schedule, a doubleheader against Roosevelt and Ballard, at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 23.
The Metro Tournament will take place at Nathan Hale High School on Friday, Feb. 7 and Saturday, Feb. 8, and the Metro Regional Tournament, to be held at Chief Sealth High School, is set to begin at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 15.