TACOMA — For the first time in a few years, there are no state wrestling champions from the Olympic Peninsula, but teams from Port Townsend, Chimacum, Forks and Port Angeles all had successful showings.
Port Townsend and Chimacum each sent a wrestler into a championship match. Port Townsend’s Dylan Tracer, despite wrestling with a broken nose and only a few months removed from sustaining a broken hand, finished second in the state at the 1A level at 182 pounds while Chimacum’s Kyle Caldwell finished second in the state at 195 pounds.
Meanwhile, Forks placed five wrestlers in the top five and finished seventh in the state at the 1A level, yet another top 10 finish for the Spartans. In all, eight Olympic Peninsula wrestlers placed in the top five at the Mat Classic.
“It was awesome. It was amazing,” said Port Townsend/Chimacum wrestling coach Stephen Grimm, on having two wrestlers make it to championship matches Saturday night. “We’ve never had two finalists in the same year. I’m proud of all of them.”
Port Townsend finished 27th overall with 23 points, while Chimacum was 29th with 21 points. However combine the two small teams and Port Townsend/Chimacum came in 15th at state with 44 total points.
Tracer had an eventful season for the Redhawks, missing the first half of the season as he recovered from surgery on a broken hand he sustained during football season. Then at the Mat Classic, he broke his nose, something that happened to him while wrestling last year.
Tracer had to wrestle one match wearing a heavy mask over his face, but Grimm said the mask affected his vision, making it hard for Tracer to see wrestlers shooting low at his legs. So, despite the broken nose, he wrestled with just a normal headgear.
He made it all the way to the championship match, losing a 6-3 decision to Sammy DesRoches of Riverside.
Grimm said Tracer had worked hard all year just to get on the mat to begin with.
“He had a lot of rehab to grind through,” Grimm said.
Meanwhile, Caldwell lost his championship bout in a disqualification to Toretto Metzger of Cascade Christian.
Grimm said Caldwell is just a junior, so gets one more shot at a championship next year in his senior year. It was Chimacum’s best finish at the Mat Classic since Cody McClain finished third a few years ago.
Grimm said getting two wrestlers to the championship is great for the Port Townsend/Chimacum program.
“It shows the underclassmen that it’s achievable,” he said.
Forks ended up finishing seventh with 80 points, only six points out of fourth. This is despite having a relatively “down” year with a number of weights not being filled at times this year.
Forks’ best finish was third by Hayden Baker at 170 pounds. Jake Weakley was fourth at 132, Ariel Morales fifth at 132, Colton Duncan fifth at 138 and Hayden Queen fifth at 170.
Granger won the 1A state champion with 178 points, Zillah was second at 148.5, Montesano third at 98.5, Connell fourth at 86, Lakeside fifth at 83.5 and Deer Park sixth at 81. It was Forks’ final year wrestling at the 1A level as the school is moving to 2B next season.
Port Angeles’ best finish was by Adam Borde, who was fifth at the 2A level at 132 pounds.