STATE WRESTLING: Forks, Ward take second; other area recaps
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Lonnie Archibald/for Peninsula Daily News
Forks senior Joel Ward wrestles Austin Morris of Quincy in the opening round of the Mat Classic. Ward went on to place second in the Class 1A 220-pound division, leading the Spartans to a second-place finish.
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Lonnie Archibald/for Peninsula Daily News
Port Angeles’ Tyler Gale tries to pin Dawson Biddix of Sedro-Woolley. Gale, a junior, went on to place fourth in the 106-pound division.

By Michael Carman
Peninsula Daily News

TACOMA — It came down to the last man standing for the Forks wrestling team.

Too bad that last man turned out to be 285-pound Blaine wrestler Mikey Antczak.

The Spartans bid for the Class 1A team state championship was derailed at the Mat Classic’s 420th and final match — a contest between Antczak and Chewelah’s Dustin Olson on Saturday night at the Tacoma Dome.

With Antczak’s victory by decision, the Borderites earned four points and wrenched the first-place trophy away from Forks by a score of 110.5 to 109.

The title that slipped just out of the Spartans’ clutches would have been the first state team championship in any sport in the history of Forks High School.

“Nothing left to say,” said Forks coach Bob Wheeler, who could only shake his head as the clock expired in the 285-pound final.

“When you are forced to having to sit around and wait for another team to lose in order for yours to win and you’ve had opportunities to win it yourself, it’s just not a good situation to be in.”

A bright spot remains for the Spartans: four of the seven state-placing Forks boys will return next season.

Ward reaches final

Dejection was widespread in the Forks contingent, which had gathered mere moments before to cheer on teammate Joel Ward in his 220-pound title match with Chelan’s Asa Schwartz.

Ward fell 4-0 in a match that would have given Forks the championship.

Blaine advanced two wrestlers to the finals, but 160-pounder Jon Stewart lost his title match, giving Ward the opportunity to clinch first place.

In the final, Ward and Schwartz spent much of the two minutes locking arms with each other, both looking to gain an advantage. Neither wrestler scored in the round.

Schwartz had the advantage to start the second period and was aggressive, pinning Ward’s arm back behind his body and then pinning his wrist behind his waist.

Looking to get out of the round as quickly as possible, Ward received a stall warning with 13 seconds left.

Schwartz picked up a quick point to start the final round after Ward was called for another stall.

He earned another point on an escape after getting away from Ward 15 seconds later.

Schwartz added to his lead when Ward was called for clubbing Schwartz in the head too harshly on a lockup.

The Chelan wrestler picked up his final point on a second Ward stall late in the match to take the title by a 4-0 score.

After the final, Ward was as upbeat as one could be after losing a state championship.

There were no tears, just a sheepish grin and a hug when Forks assistant Frankie Torres came over to tell him to keep his head up and stay proud after the match.

“I wrestled him as best I could,” Ward said. “He’s a really tough wrestler, probably the best 220 overall, and I couldn’t get an opening on him.

“I’m not too disappointed; I don’t think I could have done anything differently [to beat him].

“He only beat me by a few points.”

Schwartz and Ward had met in January at the Gut Check Challenge, with Schwartz winning by a similar margin, 3-0.

“Joel wrestled as well as he could,” Wheeler said.

“He did well with him, but it’s hard to do anything with Schwartz. He keeps perfect position and it’s so hard to get in and get any kind of points on him — he’s just tough.

“Schwartz is a perfect college-style wrestler. He should be able to compete at the next level easily.”

Ward advanced to the 220-pound final after earning a 5-2 decision over Teigan Glidewell, the same wrestler he bested for third in last year’s Mat Classic. in Mat Classic semifinal action.

Spartans placers

Ward was the highest of eight Forks state-placers, including.

The Spartans also had third-place showings from Sebastian Morales (106 pounds) and Miguel Morales (285).

Sebastian Morales fell 2-0 to Vashon Island sophomore Chase Wickman, but came back for a 6-3 win against Blaine’s Kyle Gonzalez and earned third after a 4-2 decision over Okanagan’s Anthony Payton.

“Making it to the Dome, I expected more out of myself, but this is what happened,” Sebastian Morales said.

“I did all right but I think I made a few mistakes which cost me [in the semifinals].”

Miguel Morales fell 17-9 in his semifinal to eventual runner-up Olson, but picked up the pieces with a 5-1 victory over teammate Jake Claussen, who placed sixth in the 285-pound division.

Morales earned a measure of revenge in the third-place match, besting Kiona-Benton’s Cody Zyph 9-2. Zyph beat Morales in last year’s 285-pound state final.

Morales, a junior in only his second season of wrestling, gritted his way through an ankle injury suffered in the semifinal.

“I’ve been working my way up, just trying to do the best I can and I feel like I should be up there in the finals, but at least I could get back and beat him [Zyph],” Miguel Morales said.

The Spartans’ other four state placers were 132-pounder Nanito Sanchez, who took fourth; Alvaro Ortiz, fifth at 113 pounds; Ricky Barragan, fifth at 138; and Brooke Peterson, who placed fifth in the girls 145-pound division.

Port Angeles takes ninth

The Roughriders picked up their second straight top-10 finish at Mat Classic, finishing in ninth place in Class 2A with 61.5 points.

Port Angeles was the highest-placing Olympic League team. Kingston was 10th with 60 points and Olympic, which topped the Roughriders at sub-regionals and regionals, finished 20th with 28 points.

Deer Park won the 2A state title with 109 points.

Four the six Riders wrestlers who made state placed, led by a pair of fourth-place finishers, one of those being senior standout Ozzy Swagerty.

Swagerty (126 pounds) finished fourth for the second straight year, falling into the consolation bracket after an 11-7 loss to Toppenish’s Sergio Morales in the semifinals.

Morales scored a two-point takedown with 10 seconds remaining in the second round, then clutched his knee after the round concluded and was attended to by medical staff.

He returned in time for the third round, but achieved an effective two-minute timeout before the final round

The injury timeout grated on Roughriders coach Erik Gonzalez.

“We’ve seen a real trend toward complete cautiousness in recent years, in terms of treating any apparent injury being suffered,” Gonzalez said, “and some wrestlers use that to their advantage, and I think that’s what happened here and I don’t think it’s sportsmanlike.”

Swagerty rebounded to beat Sultan’s Jamell Carroll 1-0 in his next match, and nearly completed a comeback for third place, battling back from being down 3-0 in the final round to Travis Filleau of Sumner before falling 4-2.

“Though Ozzy came up just short of his goal to be a state champion, he finished out his career like a true champion by wrestling as well as he could on a hobbled ankle throughout the postseason,” Gonzalez said.

Sophomore Tyler Gale improved upon last year’s fifth-place finish, picking up fourth place this time around after beating Olympic’s Tre Toledo 9-3 and Spencer Clegg of Clarkston 7-5, before falling to Colville freshman T.J. Baun for the second time in the tournament.

Junior Roberto Coronel (285) placed fifth for the Roughriders and junior Matt Robbins (182) took seventh.

Another junior, Kyle La Fritz (220), who placed fifth last year, injured his knee in Friday’s evening session and was forced to miss the rest of the Mat Classic.

As with Forks, the Riders appear to have a bright future ahead, with Swagerty being the only graduating state participant.

Other area placers

Sequim and Port Townsend weren’t as well-represented at state as Forks and Port Angeles, but three of the five wrestlers sent by the Wolves and Redskins to the Mat Classic earned state placements.

Shae Shoop (113 pounds) and Matt Cain (152) both took seventh place for Port Townsend, becoming the school’s first state placers since Brett Johnson in 2010.

Sequim’s Kaylee Ditlefsen went on the comeback trail after opening the tournament with a close loss to earn an eighth-place finish.

Last modified: February 23. 2014 6:50PM
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