SPORTS: Rainshadow wrestling tournament attracts top competitors in state

SEQUIM — The buck stops at the bridges.

At least that’s the way it’s been during these fiscally tight times in high school sports.

Thus, this year’s edition of the Rainshadow Wrestling Tournament is missing a few regulars from the I-5 Corridor. That includes three schools that dropped out just this past week.

It’s enough to make tournament organizer and former Sequim wrestling coach Steve Chinn a little peeved.

“It’s just ridiculous,” he said after filling out the brackets for the tournament, set to begin today at approximately 4 p.m. “School districts are pulling back.

“Usually we have 18 [schools]. We had 17 last year. And this year we had three teams drop out this week. I think it’s going to lead to contracts.

“When coaches make a commitment to a tournament, they’ve got to go.”

The loss of depth doesn’t mean a loss of star power for this weekend’s tournament, however.

A total of 13 schools committed to participate, including host Sequim (Class 2A), Thomas Jefferson (4A), Bainbridge (3A), Bremerton (3A), Mount Rainier (3A), North Kitsap (3A), Port Angeles (3A), Renton (3A), West Seattle (3A), Cedarcrest (2A), Kingston (2A), North Mason (2A) and Port Townsend (1A).

Three of those schools — Port Angeles (16th), North Kitsap (20th) and North Mason (12th) — are ranked in the top 20 of its respective classifications by washingtonwrestlingreport.com.

And a number of the wrestlers on those teams are ranked within their respective weight classes.

Chief among those is Thomas Jefferson 145-pounder Kyle McIntosh, the fourth-ranked wrestler at his weight regardless of classification.

He headlines a strong 145-pound bracket that also has top-seeded Adam Raemer of Port Angeles, third-seeded Cody Paxman of Cedarcrest and fourth-seeded Jake Bame of Mount Rainier.

“I think we’re going to see some great matches in that semi [Saturday morning],” Chinn said. “In a perfect world we’re going to end up having Raemer against Bame [in one] and McIntosh against Paxman [in the other].”

Many of the brackets might work out that way, given the drop off in depth from previous years, Chinn said.

“We’re going to have some really talented kids in this particular tournament,” he said. “But out of 16 in a bracket, we’re going to have four or five tough kids.

“Once we get into the semis, that’s where it’s going to get tough.”

Other Peninsula wrestlers who could make a mark this weekend are Port Townsend’s Brett Johnson (top seed at 160) and Ryan Unbedacht (second seed at 135), Sequim’s Dakotah Hinton (second seed at 152) and Port Angeles’ Nathan Cristion (second at 189).

North Mason is the likely team favorite, but more by default than anything else.

“North Mason is going to be in the hunt for sure, but it could be wide open,” Sequim coach Len Borchers said.

Weigh-ins are scheduled for 3 p.m. today, with wrestling going from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. The tournament resumes on Saturday at 9 a.m.

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