Red Raiders Riley Takemura and Alden Roberts weren’t worried about qualifying for next week’s Class 2A Regional Wrestling Tournament. They’ve been talented fixtures within their respective weight classes all year.
The Bellingham duo, though, welcomed the major boost of momentum they earned heading into the postseason’s next stage.
Takemura (126 pounds) and Roberts (152) not only pinned their opponents in sub-regional championship matches, they powered through perennial roadblocks while doing so.
“It’s been a tough matchup,” said Takemura of his previous meetings with Sedro-Woolley’s Adam Adkinson. “That match was the first time I have beaten him. It’s really big because heading into districts to get a good place it’s really important right now.”
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Roberts hadn’t beat Anacortes’ Andrew Toth during his previous attempts. But on Saturday, Feb. 7, under the single illuminated mat at Squalicum High School, Roberts earned a big breakthrough.
“It means a lot. I’m super pumped,” said the 152-pound senior. “I wrestled that guy before three times. I’ve never beat him. Every time I’ve lost through the last couple years, so it was awesome to win.”
Bellingham senior Sergio Torres gave the Red Raiders three individual champions with his 22-7 technical fall against Blaine’s Derreck Camba, rounding out a strong day for Bellingham during the Class 2A Sub-Regional Wrestling Tournament.
The defending Class 1A state champion Blaine Borderites, who began their title defense Saturday at the 2A level after moving up a classification, performed the best of any Whatcom County school, though. Blaine took second place with 289.5 points, narrowly missing out on a sub-regional title to Sedro-Woolley, which scored 301.5.
Bellingham took third with 171.5 points, Squalicum finished fifth with 155, Lynden took seventh with 132.5 and Sehome was eighth with 121.
But the sub-regional tournament was all about seeding and advancing to next week’s regional tournament at Sedro-Woolley High School, where Mat Classic berths with be handed out.
The top four placers in each bracket advanced, and fifth place served as an alternate. Blaine qualified 12 for next week’s action, Bellingham sent along six and Squalicum, Lynden and Sehome each advanced five.
“I felt good about it, because we got all our key guys through,” Borderites coach Craig Foster said. “A bunch of younger guys made it in the third-fourth place matches.”
Blaine’s top wrestlers also performed well.
Colton Economy (113), Anthony Frey (132), Riley Fritsch (138) and Caleb Frey (145) each won individual titles. Economy won by injury default, Anthony beat teammate Billy Dodd with a 4-2 decision, Fritsch beat Squalicum’s Zachary Wallace 6-2 and Caleb beat teammate Brendan Schmidt by forfeit. Blaine and Sedro-Woolley tied for the most wrestlers in the finals with seven.
Of all the final matches, Takemura’s may have been the most thrilling and most surprising.
Through two periods all indications suggested Takemura was going to settle for a second-place medal, but trailing 12-2 heading into the final period the Bellingham senior went to work.
After scoring five points during the first minute, cutting his deficit to 12-7, seemingly out of nowhere Takemura locked in a head-and-arm, threw Adkinson to the mat and pinned him with 35 seconds to go.
“I was looking at the score, and I realized I have to pull something out for five points, or I got to stick him here,” Takemura said. “He stood up, and I saw the opportunity to get the head-and-arm and just went for it.”
Lynden’s top finisher was sophomore 195-pounder Brody Weinheimer, who narrowly fell to Sedro-Woolley’s Nate Vaughn with a 6-5 decision. Weinheimer took a 5-3 lead in the second period, but Vaughn bounced back to take a 6-5 advantage before the the third period. Neither wrestler scored in the final frame.
Sehome’s top wrestlers was heavyweight Briley Funk, who lost in overtime during the championship match against Sedro-Woolley’s Erik Lukner. The match was tied 1-1 with seconds to go in OT, but right before the buzzer Funk was slammed to the mat and handed a defeat.
Class 2A Sub-Regional Wrestling Tournament
at Squalicum High School
Sedro-Woolley 301.5, Blaine 289.5, Bellingham 171.5, Anacortes 160.0, Squalicum 155.0, Burlington-Edison 135.0, Lynden 132.5, Sehome 121.0
106: Ty Peth (Burlington-Edison) dec. Eli Zachary (Anacortes) 17-2; 113: Colton Economy (Blaine) inj def. Hugo Diaz (Burlington-Edison); 120: Riley Takemura (Bellingham) pin Adam Adkinson (Sedro-Woolley); 126: Sergio Torres (Bellingham) dec. Derreck Camba (Blaine) 23-7; 132: Anthony Frey (Blaine) dec. Billy Dodd 4-2; 138: Riley Fritsch (Blaine) dec. Zachary Wallace 6-2; 145: Caleb Frey (Blaine) forfeit Brendan Schmidt (Blaine); 152: Alden Roberts (Bellingham) pin Andrew Toth (Anacortes); 160: Jared Mitchell (Sedro-Woolley) dec. Blair Bennett (Bellingham) 10-3; 170: Jacob Farrell (Sedro-Woolley) dec. Ross Atterberry (Anacortes) 4-1; 182: Aaron Tisinger (Anacortes) pin Quinten Roppell (Sedro-Woolley); 195: Nate Vaughn (Sedro-Woolley) dec. Brody Weinheimer (Lynden) 6-5; 220: Gabe Torgerson (School) inj def. James Swanson (Anacortes); 285: Erik Lukner (Sedro-Woolley) def. Briley Funk (Sehome) 3-1.
Other Whatcom County regional qualifiers
106: 3. Jase Cooper (Sq); 113: 3. Primitivo Cruz (Lyn), 4. Suan Tung (Seh); 120: 4. Jordan Peterson-Scotter (Lyn); 126: 3. Gage Lott (Bla), 4. Spencer Wallace (Sq); 132: 3. Ben Donnelly (Bel); 138: 3. Preston Bellville (Bla), Kyle Clemenson (Seh); 145: 3. Payton Peterson-Scotter (Lyn); 152: 3. Erik Davis (Bla); 4. Cole Marlowe (Lyn); 160: 3. Brian Pullman (Sq), 4. Blake Renskers (Bla); 170: 4. Jacob Burgoon (Sq); 182: 3. Spencer Marshall-Rodenberg (Bel), 4. Saul Magallon (Bla); 195: 4. Zach Zimmerman (Seh); 220: None; 285: 4. TJ Burfore (Seh).