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BREMERTON — The Port Angeles wrestling team keeps making history.
The Roughriders won the regional championship for the first time in program history and will send a record-number 10 wrestlers to the state championships this coming weekend.
For the first time, the Riders sent every wrestler to state who had qualified for regionals.
The school’s previous record state numbers were seven last year and also in 2009.
“It was great for the kids,” Port Angeles coach Erik Gonzalez said.
Mat Classic XXV, the state tournament, is set for Friday and Saturday at the Tacoma Dome.
After dominating the Olympic League dual-meet season, the Riders took a step back last week when they claimed second place behind Olympic at the subregionals on their own home mat at Port Angeles High School.
They were done with stepping back.
They practiced all week with the goal not only to win regionals but to send every single wrestler on to state.
“That was our goal,” Gonzalez said. “We believed that we could take all 10 to state. The kids believed in that.”
The Riders dominated the 18-team regionals, winning with the score of 175 while Olympic finished way behind as the bridesmaid with a score of 125.
Kingston took third with 113.5 while North Kitsap was fourth at 97.5 as the Olympic League as a whole dominated regionals.
Sequim took 15th place with 13 points.
The Riders dominated the field on the strength of six finalists, including two regional champions.
“There were obviously many outstanding individual efforts in the face of adversity as all 10 were on a mission to set our new program record of numbers of individuals to state,” Gonzalez said.
Still, it didn’t go perfectly for the Riders.
“Quite honestly, we expected to get nine into the title matches, and we expected to win them,” Gonzalez said.
“We still have next week [the state championships] to do that.”
Port Angeles lost two title matches by one point each, and there were a few other setbacks here and there.
Winning individual titles for the Riders were Ozzy Swagerty, who beat Nikitta Weston of North Kitsap 5-1 in the 126-pound title match; and Michael Myers, who won by injury default over North Kitsap’s Brendan Best at 285.
Best defeated Myers for the subregional heavyweight title the week before.
“Michael did not want to win his title that way,” Gonzalez said. “He was disappointed because he wanted to wrestle the match.”
Claiming second for the Riders were Brady Anderson at 113, Josh Basden at 120, Brian Cristion at 170 and Roberto Coronel at 220.
Anderson and Cristion lost heartbreaking matches in the finals.
Anderson lost 5-4 to Jordan Stello of Mark Morris while Cristion, ranked No. 3 in state and 34-4 overall, lost 4-3 to Kingston’s Aaron Dickson, ranked No. 2 in the state.
Dickson had beaten Cristion 9-1 in the subregional semifinals, sending the Rider senior into the third-place match.
“Brian wrestled a poor match, his worse of the year, [against Dickson] in the subregionals,” Gonzalez said.
“Brian wrestled him much bettered in the regionals. It’s possible we will see them in the finals at state.”
Tyler Gale, at 106, didn’t make the finals after he got caught in a cradle and was pinned in the semifinals. He came back to earn third place.
Kyle LaFritz, who Gonzalez expected to face teammate Coronel in the 220 finals, gave up a late takedown and lost by a point in the semifinals. He also ended up taking third place.
But the biggest disappointment for Gonzalez was the unexpected circumstances that kept Matt Robbins from even battling for a regional title.
Robbins was expected to vie for the 182 title but he lost in the first round in a bizarre situation.
Robbins was called for a head butt, with is considered an illegal move, when his opponent went down to the mat acted like he couldn’t continue to wrestle.
Since the match ended on what the referee considered an illegal move, the North Mason wrestled was given the win despite not having a concussion or obvious injury.
“Matt had to come through the tournament the back way,” Gonzalez said. “He couldn’t afford to lose another match or his season was over.
“That was unfortunate because we expected him in the finals.”
But Robbins won all of his remaining matches to capture third place.
“I was happy to see him respond that way,” Gonzalez said. “I’m proud of him the way he responded to that.
“That was great.”
The 10th wrestler going to state is Eric Wahl, who captured fourth place at 195.
The top four wrestlers advanced to state.
District Boys Swimming, Diving
RENTON — Port Angeles had a strong showing at the 2A West Central District boys swimming and diving championships at Hazen High School.
The Roughriders captured third place and was the top Olympic League team even though they finished behind two other teams in league during the regular season.
“We had a nice showing,” Port Angeles coach Rich Butler said on Saturday right after the two-day meet finished.
The Riders started the event with only two swimmers pre-qualified for the state meet but walked away afterwards qualified for state in 10 events.
That was a strong showing for the Riders, Butler said.
Sequim took ninth place at districts and will send three swimmers and divers to the state meet.
Two Port Angeles relay teams and individual swimmers John Macias and Avery Koehler captured third place or better at the district meet.
The 400-yard freestyle relay claimed second place with Koehler, Cole Urnes, Jay Liang and Macias finishing in 3 minutes, 35.35 seconds.
Macias was third in the 100 backstroke in 1:00.65 while the 200 medley relay took third with Macias, Liang, Wei-Yan Fu and Koehler in a time of 1:52.15.
Koehler captured third in the 100 butterfly in 59.60.
The top six individuals and relay teams earned automatic berths to state.
Fourth-place finishers for Port Angeles were Urnes in the 200 free in 2:05.07, Macias in the 200 individual medley in 2:13.80 and Fu in the 100 fly in 1:00.58.
Other finishers going to state for the Riders are Urnes, sixth in the 500 free in 5:56.95 and Liang, fifth in the 100 breaststroke in 1:10.77.
Koehler also will participate in the 200 I.M. at state. He finished in eighth place in the finals in 2:17.09, but he pre-qualified for state earlier in a dual meet in that event.
Also earning a state berth in the 2A meet was 1B Crescent diver Lucas DeFrang, who claimed sixth place in 1-meter diving with 246.30 total points.
Missing a state berth after participating in Saturday’s finals for Port Angeles were Liang, seventh in the 200 I.M. (2:16.19); diver Colton Olson, 10th with 214.15 total points; and the 200 free relay team, 11th in 1:50.88 with Fu, Erik Eyestone, Kaleb Sheldon and Urnes.
Missing the finals cut after participating in Friday’s preliminaries were Fu in the 50 free, and Sheldon in the 100 fly.
Crescent’s Patrick Singhose, meanwhile, missed the finals cut after taking 15th in the 100 fly in 1:09.25, and 16th in the 200 I.M. in 2:33. 49.
The boys swimming and diving state championships are scheduled for Feb. 15-16 at the King County Aquatic Center.
Sequim to state
Going to the 2A state meet for the Wolves are Eric Prosser in the 100 backstroke and divers Austin Clement and Cameron Harrison.
Prosser dropped a second off his best time in the preliminaries and then dropped that a little more in the finals to take fifth place by two-100ths of a second.
“Our relays swam very well,” Sequim coach Linda Moats said.
The 200 medley relay finished 10th in the preliminaries and maintained that placing in the finals while the 200 free relay finished eighth in the prelims and maintained that placing in the finals.
The 400 free relay was the story for Sequim in the finals, Moats said.
The 400 free relay, seeded eighth going in, dropped 2 seconds off its best time to finish in seventh place during preliminaries.
Swimming in the finals, the Wo,ves dropped an additional 6 seconds to finish seventh (due to heat designations), but swimming a time fast enough for a sixth-place finish.
In individual splits in the prelims, Kiano Stoppani dropped 2 seconds off his best 100 free time while Doug Dunbar dropped 1 second.
In the finals, though, Dunbar dropped another second, Steve Dewey dropped 1 second and Prosser swam the fastest time ever with a 55-second 100 free.
“This is a lot of time to drop off a 100 free in such a short time,” Moats said.
“We are very pleased with the swimmers’ performance at this meet.”
Clement dove well and placed second overall. During the first eight dives, he struggled a little and so was unable to better his best score of the season.
Clement qualified for state at the Olympic Divisional meet and will move on to compete next week at the 2A state meet in Federal Way.
Joining him will be Harrison was diving very well and was in 6th place after eight dives.
Harrison struggled on his last dive and finished in ninth place. He also qualified for state at the Olympic Divisional meet.
“We are thrilled to have three athletes to represent Sequim High School at the state level,” Moats said.