SPORTS: Rainshadow wrestling tournament, featuring 10 teams, opens today in Sequim

SEQUIM — Class 2A wrestling powers Port Angeles and North Mason are expected to mix it up again for the third time in the past week at the 14th annual Rainshadow tournament starting today.

Sequim’s prestigious tourney will feature 10 teams, highlighted by the Roughriders and Bulldogs’ battle.

Action starts today at 4:30 p.m. with round one with round two beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Competition resumes Saturday with the consolation second round at 10 a.m. and championship semifinals and consolation quarterfinals starting at 11:30 a.m.

The championship finals start at 4 p.m.

In a fight for the team title, the Riders and Bulldogs — 1-1 in competition the past six days — will go at it once again.

North Mason, ranked No. 4 in state, shaded the Riders for first place at its own tournament last Saturday in Belfair, and then Port Angeles returned the favor Wednesday night, beating the Bulldogs 36-30 in an Olympic League dual meet in Port Angeles.

The Riders, who won their own Battle for the Axe tournament a couple of weeks ago, were ranked No. 16 in state in the last poll.

Kingston, which beat Sequim 46-18 in an Olympic League dual meet Wednesday, is another dangerous team.

“Kingston also is ranked in the top 20,” Sequim coach Len Borchers said.

The Buccaneers, ranked 19th, were third at the North Mason tourney last weekend.

The Wolves have never won their own tourney and on the surface it looks like this would be a tough year to break through.

Don’t tell that to Port Angeles coach Erik Gonzalez, though.

“Their kids always wrestle really well at their tournament,” he said.

Other teams at the 2011 Rainshadow are Bainbridge, Bremerton, Cedarcrest, North Kitsap and West Seattle.

Cedarcrest also is one of the tougher teams in the state, ranked 20th.

There will be several top wrestlers at the competition, including Port Angeles 189-pound senior Nathan Cristion, who captured eighth in 3A state last year, is ranked No. 2 in 2A state and is 18-0 on the year with 17 pins.

One defending state champion is in the group, 125-pound Jake Velarde of North Kitsap, who is ranked No. 2 this year.

North Mason’s Pedro Joaquin, who was sixth at state last year, is rated No. 1 at 119 pounds.

There are two No. 2-ranked wrestlers in the lineup besides Cristion and Velarde, including 145-pound Sam Newman of North Mason (eighth a year ago), and 152-pound Cody Paxman of Cedarcrest (eighth last year).

Ranked No. 3 is Zac Joaquin of North Mason at 112 pounds (fifth last year).

Third at state a year ago but unranked this year is Bremerton’s Lauren Richardson at 112.

Two ranked at No. 4 are Kingston’s Bobby Reece at 140 and Freddie Rodolf of Kingston at 215 (eighth last year).

North Mason’s Craig Guse is ranked No. 5 at 160.

One of the most interesting weights is 103 pounds where Josh Basden of Port Angeles is ranked fifth while North Mason’s Cody Duckworth is ranked sixth.

Basden has the edge at 2-0 in the head-to-head showdowns between the two.

Also ranked are Brian McCarty of North Mason, seventh at 135, and Robby McNair of Cedarcrest, eighth at 285.

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