By Michael Carman
Peninsula Daily News
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The Roughriders celebrated the annual Bud Dire Memorial Night on Tuesday, by honoring Dire, who founded the Port Angeles program in 1963 and coached the school's first state placer, Bruce Chamberlin, who took fifth in 1965, and welcoming back former Riders wrestlers.
Port Angeles went 2-0 as a team on the night, staying unbeaten on the season at 6-0 in the Olympic League and 11-0 overall, after defeating Port Townsend 54-21 and Sequim 76-6.
“I really liked the business-like mentality we showed tonight,” Port Angeles coach Erik Gonzalez said.
“The kids were focused and also did a great job of supporting each other.”
Port Townsend took down Sequim 57-24 in the other match.
The Riders-Redskins match was closer than the scoreboard indicated, with Port Angeles winning seven weight classes, and Port Townsend claiming five wins, with one forfeit apiece.
Port Angeles earned more points since all seven wins came by pin fall, while Kade Wilford at 138 pounds was the Redskins' only winner by pin.
Winning both matches on the night by pin for Port Angeles was Tyler Gale (113),Brady Anderson (120), Ozzy Swagerty (126) and Gavin Crain (132).
Swagerty, a two-time state placer, is seeking to better last year's fourth-place finish at Mat Classic.
“We've only had three other three-time state placers, so hopefully he can join some elite company there,” Gonzalez said.
Matt Robbins (182) also won both matches for the Riders, earning a pin against Port Townsend's Jeff Seton and a technical fall victory over Adam Schaefer of Sequim.
The Seton-Robbins match was a highlight due to a clash in styles.
Port Townsend's Seton earned some quick points after successfully attempting two standing takedowns, but opened himself up for just a second and Robbins pounced.
“I have to give credit to Seton, he came out very aggressive and most kids don't do that against Robbins,” Gonzalez said.
“I think it kind of woke him [Robbins] up and as soon as he saw that opening he ended it.”
Port Townsend dominated the middle weights in both matchups, picking up double wins from Wilford, Alex Morris (145), Matt Cain (152) and Forrest Piatt (160).
“Cain is a natural athlete, very dominant on the mat, and has had a great season for us, although his record might not reflect that,” Port Townsend coach Steve Grimm said.
“He's had a lot of tough matches and it [his record] doesn't show the quality of competitor he is.”
Grimm also praised Morris' cradle, employed in both matches.
“Once he gets you in that cradle, it's lights out, there's no way you'll ever get out,” Grimm said.
Wilford, who took down the eighth-ranked 138-pound Class 1A wrestler over the weekend to win his division at the Rainier Tournament, continued his impressive run.
“He doesn't have that typical wrestler look and I swear every time he steps on the mat, his opponent must be thinking, 'I'm gonna beat this kid,' but they don't know how hard he has worked in the room and how much he actually knows,” Grimm said.
“When he gets on the mat, he pushes the pace so hard and so fast that he wears his opponent down and wins.”
Despite the lopsided scoring, Sequim coach Charles Drabek is encouraged about the progress his young grapplers are making on the year.
“I'm not worried about the results; I'm interested in their improvement, and I'm seeing a lot of stuff that we are working on in practice beginning to be used in matches,” Drabek said.
“We are building up a competitive nature and the rest of it will come.”
At 145 pounds, Kevin Ward earned a hard-fought pin at 5:28 for the Wolves in his match against Port Angeles' Andrew Harrelson.
“Kevin is a sophomore for us but he was injured his freshman year and his match experience isn't at a second-year level, but he really battled tonight,” Drabek said.
Ward's win came late in the match and ended a string of Port Angeles pinfalls.
Freshman Alma Mendoza won a girls match for the Wolves against Port Townsend's Charity Jesionowski at 126, before succumbing to Swagerty in the match against Port Angeles.
Sequim hosts Bremerton today and Port Townsend travels to North Kitsap.
Port Angeles travels to second-place Olympic today for an important Olympic League match.
“They've been chasing us for the last two years and we expect this one to help decide the league title once again,” Gonzalez said.