PREP WRESTLING: Port Angeles ‘rains’ supreme over Rainshadow Invitational

SEQUIM — A small grin crept across Erik Gonzalez’s face as the announcement was made inside Rick Kaps Gymnasium.

That was about all of the satisfaction the Port Angeles wrestling coach would display, however, upon learning the news.

The Roughriders may have won the Rainshadow Invitational Wrestling Tournament for the first time in its 14-year history. Yet Gonzalez wasn’t upon to start beating his chest.

“I’m the kind of guy that is never satisfied,” said Gonzalez, whose team won its second tournament title in less than a month.

“I told the guys heading into the finals that it didn’t matter whether we won or lost, I wasn’t pleased with today. I’ve won and not felt real good and lost and felt real good and today doesn’t feel all that good.”

Brian Cristion and Andrew Symonds each won individual titles to help inch the Riders (251 points) just past state-tanked North Mason (245) for the tournament crown.

Sequim’s Derek Fruin led the Wolves with a championship of his at the 135-pound weight class, the only other area champion at the tournament.

Three other Riders made the finals and seven more the semifinals as Port Angeles had 14 wrestlers place in the 10-team event.

Still, it was Port Angeles’ inability to put a few more in the finals and atop the podium that had Gonzalez a little disappointed.

“We wrestled really well the first day, and we were way ahead, and the second day we didn’t wrestle as well,” Gonzalez said.

“We had a chance to really widen the gap and instead we allowed [North Mason] to close the gap.

“We have to get to the point where we understand what it takes to put people away.”

That certainly couldn’t be said of Cristion or Symonds, both of whom put up dominating performances in the finals.

Cristion moved his season record to a perfect 22-0 with a 2-minute, 26-second pin of Bainbridge’s Karl Hunt in the 189 title match.

The senior flipped Hunt on his back after the Trojan made an aggressive move for an attempted takedown and got the pin.

Symonds then closed out the tournament with a 5-0 points victory over Cedarcrest’s Austin Koons at 140 pounds.

“Andrew is looking very business-like right now,” Gonzalez said. “He won the final 5-0, but it wasn’t that close. He was in complete control the entire match.

“I’m very impressed with the way [Symonds and Cristion] wrestled.”

The tournament championship was the second of the season for Symonds, who is now 22-4.

Up until then, the senior hadn’t won a tournament since claiming a sub-regional title in 2008.

“I just wanted to control the whole match [in the finals] and stay in good position,” Symonds said, “and I felt like I did that pretty well. So I feel good.”

Fruin scored his first ever tournament victory in dramatic fashion.

The Sequim sophomore was dead even at 0-0 with Cedarcrest’s Carlos Toledano in the second round when he scored an escape, takedown and pin in a matter of seconds.

Fruin jumped up and swung his fist with delight after the referee slammed his palm to the mat.

“I was excited,” said Fruin, the Wolves’ lone finalist.

“To win in front of the home crowd is the biggest confidence booster for me. It’s really important because I get to have all my friends see what I can do.”

Sequim finished fifth overall (214 points), with 14 wrestlers placing in the top six.

That included third-place finishes from Dakotah Hinton (171 pounds), Emilio Perete-Colin (215) and Clay Charley (285).

“I thought we’d be in about the middle. We were hovering around fourth there. We just didn’t get enough to break through into the finals to get any higher than that,” Sequim head coach Len Borchers said. “But I was really pleased to see Derek [win at 135]. He works hard and he’s certainly motivated to do well.”

Brian Cristion nearly matched his brother’s championship performance for the Riders.

The sophomore had a one-point lead on Cedarcrest’s Martin Vakamoce with 26 seconds to go in the 171 finals. But after an injury timeout, Vakamoce came up with a dramatic reversal and held on from there for a 4-3 victory.

Jacob Dostie lost his 215-pound final to Kingston’s Freddy Rodolf 9-3 to also finish second for the Riders, while teammate Trevor Lee was pinned in 160 final and placed second as well.

Taking third for the Riders were Josh Basden (109) and Zach Grall (189), with the latter notching the most pins (4) in the tournament.

Port Townsend took ninth at the tournament. Only Kris Windle was able to put up a top-three finish, taking third at 152.

Three others placed in the top six for PT.

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