Whatcom County’s two Class 2A Regional Tournament championships not only went to Blaine, they went to the same household within the border town.
Borderite brothers Anthony Frey and Caleb Frey used come-from-behind efforts in their respective title matches, successfully defending the regional titles they won a year ago to highlight a strong day for Blaine’s wrestling team.
Last year’s Class 1A state champions, now wrestling at the 2A level, settled for a fourth-place team finish, but the Borderites advanced nine wrestlers to state and had four vying for regional titles Saturday, Feb. 14, at Sedo-Woolley High School.
“The whole idea is to get to state and we got nine guys going, and I really didn’t expect that,” Blaine coach Craig Foster said. “I was hoping to get all seven state veterans through, which we did, and then there were a couple of surprises. I feel real good about that.”
Blaine’s nine moving on to next week’s Mat Classic XXVII, Friday-Saturday, Feb. 20-21, at the Tacoma Dome, with top-four finishes at the regional tournament were Colton Economy (113 pounds), Gage Lott (126), Derreck Camba (126), Anthony (132), Billy Dodd (132), Riley Fritsch (138), Preston Bellville (138), Caleb (145) and Erik Davis (145).
Only six 2A county wrestlers outside of Blaine’s nine advanced to state Saturday.
Bellingham’s Alden Roberts (152), who was one of two non-Blaine county wrestler to compete in a final, advanced, as did his teammate Blair Bennett (160).
Squalicum brothers Spencer Wallace (126) and Zachary Wallace (138), Lynden’s Payton Peterson-Scotter (145) and Sehome’s Briley Funk (285) also punched their state tournament tickets.
Without a doubt, though, Blaine performed the best among county schools, and the Freys were a major reason.
“Those two boys are both competitors,” Foster said. “They are just going to battle hard no matter what the score is.”
Anthony showed his resolve first against Olympic’s Jayden Fernandez. Trailing 3-1 early in the second period after getting penalized a point in the first, Anthony saw an opportunity to turn the tide of the match, and in a split second he followed a two-point reversal with a two-point near fall to take a 5-3 advantage.
Anthony added a three-point near fall in the third and controlled the match the rest of the way to claim his third consecutive regional title.
“I knew I could get him with my cradle and get some back points there,” Anthony said. “What really fired me up is when I got that illegal point called on me. It got me a little fired up, thinking I got two and maybe could have pinned him from there, too, because he was right on his back.”
Following Anthony’s win, Fritsch suffered a hard-fought 3-2 loss in the 138-pound title match, but Caleb picked him up with an sudden-death overtime 6-4 decision over North Kitsap’s Nikitta Weston.
Caleb trailed 4-3 late in the third period, but stalling was called on Weston with less than five seconds left, sending the match into OT.
Caleb only needed 29 seconds of overtime to bring Weston to the ground and gain control for a dramatic regional-title win.
“I just condition for that stuff,” said Caleb, when asked how he was able to pull out his overtime victory. “I love tough matches. They keep me strong, and he was a tough competitor and I loved that match.”
Lott also wrestled in the finals, but unlike Caleb, he came out on the wrong end of an epic four overtime match. Lott lost 7-6 after Port Angeles’ Brady Anderson scored a one-point escape with 4 seconds left in a sudden death fourth OT period.
Squalicum’s top placer was Zachary, who rebounded after losing in the semifinals to win back-to-back before earning a third-place finish. He’ll be heading back to the Mat Classic for the third time.
“I’m proud of what I did, and third place is really good,” Zachary said. “It’s not like I win all the time, so I kind of have to get use to bouncing back after a loss. Wrestling in general, you have to be able to deal with the outcome and push forward to the next match.”
Sehome’s Funk, the only Mariners wrestler to qualify for state, ended the tournament in the 285-pound final. He wrestled a strong match against Port Angeles’ Roberto Coronel, he but came out on the wrong end of a 5-1 decision.
“It’s great I’m going back to state again this year,” Funk said. “I’m just real happy right now in this point of time.”
While Saturday’s regional gave 15 county wrestlers reason to celebrate, the tournament also ended in heartbreak for some.
Bellingham’s Riley Takemura, who has been a fixture in previous Mat Classics, had to settled for a fifth-place finish and will go to the Tacoma Dome as an alternate. His teammate, Sergio Torres, suffered the same fate, as did talented Lynden sophomore Brody Weinheimer, who was competing in an extremely difficult 195-pound bracket.
CLASS 2A REGIONAL WRESTLING TOURNAMENT
at Sedro-Woolley High School
Port Angeles 186, Olympic 174, Sedro-Woolley 173, Blaine 152, Anacortes 95, North Mason 54, Bremerton 53, Bellingham 51, Burlington-Edison 41, Lynden 32, Sequim 30, Sehome 27, Squalicum 27, North Kitsap 24, Kingston 10
106: Ty Peth (Burlington-Edison) dec. Tyler Gale (Port Angeles) 2-0; 113: Tre Toledo (Olympic) pin Ben Basden (Port Angeles) 3:14; 120: Adam Adkinson (Sedro-Woolley) forfeit DaniilFedoruk (Sedro-Woolley); 126: Brady Anderson (Port Angeles) dec. Gage Lott (Blaine) 7-6; 132: Anthony Frey (Blaine) dec. Jayden Fernandez (Olympic) 8-4; 138: Cameron Dubos (Bremerton)) dec. Riley Fritsch (Blaine) 3-2; 145: Caleb Frey (Blaine) dec. Nikitta Weston (North Kitsap) 6-4; 152: Kevyn Ward (Sequim) pin Alden Roberts (Bellingham) 2:18; 160: Logan Madison (Olympic) pin Cole Rinehart (North Mason) 2:20; 170: Jacob Farrell (Sedro-Woolley) dec. Ross Atterberry (Anacortes) 10-9; 182: Aaron Tisinger (Anacortes) pin Quinten Dickman-Roppel (Sedro-Woolley) 1:38; 195: Matt Robbins (Port Angeles) dec. Nate Vaughn (Sedro-Woolley) 4-2; 220: Gabe Torgerson (Sedro-Woolley) dec. Kyle La Fritz (Port Angeles) 3-2; 285: Roberto Coronel (Port Angeles) dec. Briley Funk (Sehome) 5-1.