East County wrestlers stood out at the Evergreen 1A subregional wrestling tournament at Hoquiam Square Garden on Friday.
A wrestler from Elma or Montesano took first in half of the weight brackets as 22 wrestlers from the two schools finished in the top four at their weight.
The tournament was changed from a two-day format to a one-day competition due to the possibility of snow on Saturday, but the schedule change didn’t seem to phase the East County grapplers.
Montesano qualified nine of its 14 wrestlers that competed Friday, and Elma had 13 wrestlers place in the top four and move on to compete at the regional tournament in Blaine this Saturday.
“Not a bad day,” Monte coach Jeff Klinger said. “It is something about this gym. We seem to wrestle really well here. At the Grizzly Invite we did really well and we did well today.”
Montesano freshman Austin Cain provided some of the highlights for the Bulldogs with a victory over the No. 2 seed David Molitor of Hoquiam in the semifinals and then defeating the No. 1 seed at 132 pounds, Nanito Sanchez of Forks, in the final. After a scoreless first period, Cain earned an escape early in the second round and went on to beat Sanchez by a score of 5-0.
“If people are looking from the outside, they are going to think that is an upset where (Cain) beat Nanito Sanchez in the finals,” Klinger said. “(Cain) was the three seed and he knocked off number two and then number one in the championship. Austin had a pretty special day. He deserves it. He works hard and he wrestled really well.”
Montesano had three other champions on Friday in addition to Cain. Freshman Jacob Ellefson enters the regional tournament undefeated after he earned the championship for 113 pounds at the subdistrict tournament with two pins. Sophomore Kylar Prante took home the championship at 160 pounds, and junior Anthony Louthan won the title for 170 pounds.
Elma finished the day with three champions in senior Tanner Sample at 126 pounds, senior Tyson Dick at 145 pounds and senior Brek McGaughy at 220 pounds.
“I’m happy with the performance,” Elma coach Jason Dick said. “They wrestled hard and we advanced a guy in every weight class we represented.”
One of the most impressive performances for Elma came from Tyson Dick, who earned pins in his first two matches in a combined time of 63 seconds. Even more impressive is that he was sick the days leading up to the tournament and had been throwing up the morning of the competition. In the final at 145 pounds, against Javier Contreras of Forks, Tyson Dick scored eight points in the second period to lead 12-2 when the illness caught up with him and he threw up on the mat. Dick stayed focused and after a brief time to clean up the mat and a chance for the senior to throw up two more times, he finished off the title performance, 16-4.
“Tyson has wrestled ill,” Jason Dick said. “He missed school, he was throwing up and I told him go out there and get the matches over with and he had one minute of wrestling in two matches. That showed heart.”
Included in the individuals moving on to wrestle next week for Elma are two second-place finishers in Jayden Olson at 120 pounds and Austin Cristelli at 152 pounds. Ryan Mesojednik finished third for Elma at 106 pounds; Jonathan Weiller placed third at 182 pounds and Austin Carrell finished third at 195 pounds. Elma had five wrestlers place fourth in Mario Yanez at 113, Matt Hitchiner at 126, Jacob Nelson at 132, Steven Persell at 160 and James Quimby at 170.
Freshman Tyler Izatt at 106 pounds and Taylor Rupe at 195 each took home second for Montesano, and three Bulldogs finished fourth in Austin Vinson at 120 pounds, Matthew Overbey at 145 pounds and Aavin Howell at 182 pounds.
While both coaches said they were happy with the performance at the subregionaltournament, they were quick to say the key was simply to advance.
“The ultimate goal for the kids right now is advance,” Jason Dick said. “What I tell the kids is, ‘Give yourself an opportunity to wrestle.’ We always have room to improve and I think we are going to be peaking at the right time.”