Blaine didn’t give non-Borderite supporters much of a reason to hang around late into the finals matches during the 2016 Northwest Conference Tournament.
Largely because seven Borderites were featured in the final five championship matches.
Led by individual winners Derreck Camba (132 pounds), Preston Bellville (138), Anthony Frey (145), Caleb Frey (152), Riley Fritsch (160) and Saul Magallon (195), Blaine wrestled its way to its third league title in four years Saturday, Jan. 16, at Meridian High School.
“We’ve had a brutal schedule all season with a lot of big tournaments,” Blaine Hall of Fame coach Craig Foster said. “They come into something smaller like this and local, and they are pretty confident. And so they are relaxed and just wrestle.”
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Nine Blaine wrestlers reached the finals, but no match was as thrilling as Magallon’s 195-pound title bout with Burlington-Edison’s Michael Huscusson.
Magallon, a sophomore who was selected WIAA Athlete of the Week last week after winning his first tourney title at the Panther Classic, beat Huscusson 5-4 with a sudden-death escape 18 seconds into a fourth overtime.
“We have this thing, we always tap our heart for having heart when you wrestle,” Magallon explained. “And when you get into the finals, you need to pull out your heart and wrestle and step up your game. So when we were in triple overtime, I looked over at Colton (Economy) and he hit his hand on his chest a couple times and I did it back.”
Burlington-Edison placed second with 168 points, and a 170-pound title by Taylor Bellefeuille and finals appearances by Josh Coballes (120), Carson Trolinder (132) and Braiden Klimp (160) helped defending champion Ferndale finish third with 168 points.
Sehome’s Briley Funk (285) was Whatcom County’s only other individual champion. Funk beat Anacortes’ Kiron Devine with a 10-3 decision during his title match.
Coming in second last year, it was a really tough bracket, and it was really tough this year, but it felt good coming in and winning the tournament.
Sehome’s Briley Funk on his 285-pound title
Wrestler of the tournament
Lower weight: Blaine 132-pound wrestler Derreck Camba is ranked No. 2 in Class 2A right now, and he put together a dominating performance on his way to winning a Northwest Conference title. He pinned his way to the finals where he then beat Ferndale’s Carson Trolinder with a 12-0 decision.
Upper weight: Ferndale’s Taylor Bellefeuille has put together a great season, and he continued that Saturday with an impressive showing. He earned a first-round pin, won in the quarterfinals 13-0, earned a technical fall in the semifinals and pinned Burlington-Edison’s Reubin Hendricks during the first-round of his 170-pound title match.
Northwest Conference Tournament
Blaine 220.5, Burlington-Edison 177, Ferndale 168, Anacortes 107.5, Lynden 88, Sehome 76, Squalicum 73, Nooksack Valley 64.5, Mount Baker 63, Bellingham 43.5, Meridian 36.5
106: Eli Zachary (Anacortes) dec. Jaiden Bundy (Squalicum) 6-3; 113: Isaac Lopez (Burlington-Edison) dec. Jace Cooper (Squalicum) 15-5; 120: Aaron Fisher (Burlington-Edison) dec. Josh Coballes (Ferndale) 6-3; 126: Ty Peth (Burlington-Edison) dec. Colton Economy (Blaine) 1-0; 132: Derreck Camba (Blaine) dec. Carson Trolinder (Ferndale) 12-0; 138: Preston Bellville (Blaine) dec. Aidan Button (Blaine) 7-4; 145: Anthony Frey (Blaine) dec. Matt Macauley (Blaine) 10-3; 152: Caleb Frey (Blaine) dec. Jeremiah Cronk (Mount Baker) 9-1; 160: Riley Fritsch (Blaine) dec. Braiden Klimp (Ferndale) 5-1; 170: Taylor Bellefeuille (Ferndale) pin Reubin Hendricks (Burlington-Edison); 182: Sean Ferdig (Burlington-Edison) forfeit; 195: Saul Magallon (Blaine) dec. Michael Huscusson (Burlington-Edison) 5-4; 220: James Swanson (Anacortes) pin Zach Zimmerman; 285: Briley Funk (Sehome) dec. Kiron Devine (Anacortes) 10-3.