High School Sports

County puts together strong showing on Classic's final day

Mount Baker's Natalie Smith hugs her coach Clyde Blockley after winning the girls' 125-pound state championship at Mat Classic XXVIII at the Tacoma Dome.
Mount Baker's Natalie Smith hugs her coach Clyde Blockley after winning the girls' 125-pound state championship at Mat Classic XXVIII at the Tacoma Dome. eabell@bhamherald.com

Three individual champions, four top-10 team finishes. Whatcom County wrestlers flexed their muscles during the 28th edition of the Tacoma Dome’s Mat Classic on Saturday, Feb. 20.

Mount Baker senior Natalie Smith finally captured what she’s been so-desperately chasing the past four years, capping her fourth and final state tournament with a state championship, and a new star emerged in the form of Nooksack Valley sophomore Emma Bruntil, who dominated her way to a state title.

And after no county boys’ wrestler claimed a state championship last year, Ferndale junior Ben Broselle ensured that didn’t happen again.

“My goal the beginning of the year was to make it to the finals,” Broselle said, “and once I did that I’m just like, ‘Now I have to win. I have to win now.’

Each state champion was pivotal in helping their teams land in the top-10 of their respective classifications.

The Baker girls took second place with 73 points with the help of Smith, heavyweight Akemi Schwinden, who took a heartbreaking 5-3 overtime loss in her state championship match, and several others.

The Nooksack Valley girls claimed sixth place with 57 points, the Blaine boys finished sixth with 77 points and Ferndale placed ninth with 65.5.

Borderites dominate during medal rounds

Caleb Frey’s loss in the 152-pound title match couldn’t dampen what was an impressive bounce-back day for the Borderites.

When state-title dreams are dashed, there’s a natural instinct to let the disappointment fester, but even though some of Blaine’s highly-touted wrestlers lost during day one, they didn’t let it affect their Saturday performances.

Derreck Camba (132), Anthony Frey (145) and Riley Fritsch (160) won their first two matches to advance to third- or-fourth place matches, while Caleb won his semifinal match before dropping a 7-3 match against West Valley Spokane’s Drake Ferguson.

“I was really training hard for that first, but things didn’t go the way I planned,” Caleb said. “But that’s fine. I’m proud of what I did. Making it to the state finals twice is pretty good.”

Anthony, who lost to Orting’s Ben Gore in the quarterfinals, reeled off three straight wins win a pin, a 3-1 decision and a 6-4 decision over Toppenish’s Felipe Arriaga to earn a third-place medal to go with hisprevious fifth- and seventh-place medals.

“Yesterday after the loss I just wanted to place as high as I could,” Frey said. “I came in with that attitude. I wasn’t going to give up any big points, any back points. I came in with the attitude that I was going to win, and that’s what I did. I went 3-0 today.”

Saul Magallon (195) also won a match, beating Black Hills’ TJ Borden 3-2 in overtime before suffering back-to-back defeats for a sixth-place finish.

Outside of Blaine, Lynden’s Brody Weinheimer (220) was Class 2A’s highest finisher, earning a fifth-place medal after losing a semifinal match before splitting a pair of consolation bouts.

The Lions junior made quick work of Anacortes’ James Swanson in the fifth- or- sixth-place match, pinning him in 2:35.

“There was one more match,” Weinheimer said. “I figured I could take fifth of sixth, and it was a kid I’d beat all year. He is a tough, strong kid, but I was like, ‘Take fifth.’”

Squalicum’s Jace Cooper (113) ended his season in a strong way, bringing back to Bellingham a sixth-place finish.

Sehome heavyweight Briley Funk finished his career with an eighth-place medal. He lost both his matches Saturday, but ended the season with some well-earned hardware.

Ferndale breaks into top 10

Broselle helped deliver what Ferndale coach Caleb Schlack envisioned at the beginning of the season -- a top-10 finish.

Broselle’s state-title win pushed the Golden Eagles into ninth place with 65.5 points, an impressive accomplishment.

“I think these kids are building the confidence that we can compete with anybody in the state, not just the area,” Schlack said.

Eli Croy (126), Braiden Klimp (160) and Sam Cleary (195) each wrestled their way to sixth-place medals, while Noah Saenz (145) ended his tournament with a win, taking home seventh place.

Croy and Klimp started off Saturday with wins. Croy pinned Rainer Beach’s Abdi Farah in 2:48, while Klimp earned a 13-2 decision over Mount Tahoma’s Garret Owen-Bisson.

Cleary, who entered the medal rounds one win away from wrestling for a state title, took a semifinal loss before losing twice more for his sixth-place medal.

Girls’ teams have strong showing

Baker’s Rachel Nichols (145) ensured she ended her career with a win, even after taking back-to-back medal round losses.

She looked as though she’d be heading for a third straight loss and a sixth-place medal trailing by four points with just more than 30 seconds left in her final match, but Nichols threw Shelton’s Matlyne Mecham to her back before earning a three-point near fall.

She took an 8-7 lead and held on for the win.

“I’m a little disappointed in my second day,” Nichols said, “but I think I pulled my last match ever out in the end.”

Korbyn Cadle also contributed to Baker’s second-place finish with her eighth-place medal.

While Bruntil offered the Pioneers’ biggest highlight, she was one of three Nooksack Valley girls who took home medals.

Miana Rabang earned a fifth-place finish, and Julie De La Cruz took home a sixth-place medal.

Lynden also had three placers.

Thalia Veliz’s third-place finish was the highest a Lion girls’ wrestler had ever placed, and Karina Martinez and Kali Spady earned eighth-place medals

Mount Baker’s Jeremiah Cronk ends year with win

After dropping a heartbreaking consolation loss, Cronk ensured he went home with at least one winSaturday.

The Mountaineers senior pinned Freeman’s Christian Goldbach 1:51 into the second period to capture aseventh-place finish.

Nooksack Valley heavyweight Tyson Mergel wasn’t as fortunate, as he dropped both Saturday matches, but he still ended the season with a medal, taking eighth place.

Girls

120 POUNDS

School

Round

Opponent (School)

Results

Korbyn Cadle

Mount Baker

Cons.

7th

Alex More (Kingston)

Baylee Wright (Washougal)

L 4-0

L 5-0

125 POUNDS

School

Round

Opponent (School)

Results

Natalie Smith

Mount Baker

Semi.

Cham.

Anesia Ramirez

(Lakes)

Morgan Jones

(Eastmount)

W 6-2

W pin (2:59)

Julie De La Cruz

Nooksack Valley

Cons.

Cons.

5th

Karina Martinez (Lynden)

Anesia Ramirez (Lakes)

Daisy Chavez (Sunnyside)

W 10-3

L pin (2:56)

L 3-2

Karina Martinez

Lynden

Cons.

7th

Julie De La Cruz (Nooksack Valley)

Annabelle Helm (Union)

L 10-3

L 6-2

130 POUNDS

School

Round

Opponent (School)

Results

Emma Bruntil

Nooksack Valley

Semi.

Cham.

Erin Redford (White River)

Jasmine Pleasants (Thomas Jefferson)

W 8-2

W 12-2

135 POUNDS

School

Round

Opponent (School)

Results

Miana Rabang

Nooksack Valley

Cons.

Cons.

5th

Stephania Ferndalez (Sunnyside)

Makayla Jackson (Lakewood)

Andevay Avila (Auburn)

W pin (2:04)

L pin (4:24)

W pin (4:37)

140 POUNDS

School

Round

Opponent (School)

Results

Kali Spady

Lynden

Cons.

7th

Morgan Ratcliff (Washougal)

Alma Mendoz (Sequim)

L pin (2:12)

L 11-0

145 POUNDS

School

Round

Opponent (School)

Results

Rachel Nichols

Mount Baker

Semi.

Cons.

5th

Desiree Zavala (Grandview)

Christina Murray (Washougal)

Matlyn Mecham (Shelton)

L pin (0:38)

L 18-15

W 8-7

190 POUNDS

School

Round

Opponent (School)

Results

Thalia Veliz

Lynden

Cons.

Cons.

3rd

Cassidy Ochoa (Sunnyside)

Dreakeanna Adair (Bonney Lake)

Shaelyn Mason (Lewis & Clark)

W 11-4

W 8-3

W pin (0:45)

235 POUNDS

School

Round

Opponent (School)

Results

Akemi Schwinden

Mount Baker

Semi.

Cham.

Kelly Benson (Zillah)

Lourdes Faletagoai (Clover Park)

W pin (5:41)

L 5-3 (OT)

Class 1A

152 POUNDS

School

Round

Opponent (School)

Results

Jeremiah Cronk

Mount Baker

Cons.

7th

Gabe Wallis (Klahowya)

Christian Goldbach (Freenman)

L 2-1

W pin (3:51)

285 POUNDS

School

Round

Opponent (School)

Results

Tyson Mergel

Nooksack Valley

Cons.

7th

Jesse McCoy (Chewelah)

Joe Sims (Freeman)

L 16-0

L inj. def.

Class 2A

113 POUNDS

School

Round

Opponent (School)

Results

Jace Cooper

Squalicum

Cons.

Cons.

5th

Chrys Cenkush (Orting)

Tyler Gale (Port Angeles)

Sergy Salas (Wapato)

W 6-5

L 5-0

L pin (4:25)

132 POUNDS

School

Round

Opponent (School)

Results

Derreck Camba

Blaine

Cons.

Cons.

3rd

Erick Juerez (Aberdeen)

Javier Hart (Toppenish)

Michael Leger (Sedro-Woolley)

W 3-2

W 13-11

L 8-4

145 POUNDS

School

Round

Opponent (School)

Results

Anthony Frey

Blaine

Cons.

Cons.

3rd

Tommy Herz (Ridgefield)

Michael Matagi (W.F. West)

Felipe Arriaga (Toppenish)

W pin (1:41)

W 3-1

W 6-4

152 POUNDS

School

Round

Opponent (School)

Results

Caleb Frey

Blaine

Semi.

Cham.

Collin Freeman (Othello)

Drake Ferguson (Spokane West Valley)

W 6-4

L 7-3

160 POUNDS

School

Round

Opponent (School)

Results

Riley Fritsch

Blaine

Cons.

Cons.

3rd

Owen Donnelly (Shorecrest)

Aaron Pimentel (Selah)

Logan Madison (Olympic)

W 7-3

W 4-3

L 6-3

195 POUNDS

School

Round

Opponent (School)

Results

Saul Magallon

Blaine

Cons.

Cons.

5th

T.J. Borden (Black Hills)

Andrew Carney (Ellensburg)

Devon Waterman (Cheney)

W 3-2 OT

L 3-2

L pin (4:10)

220 POUNDS

School

Round

Opponent (School)

Results

Brody Weinheimer

Lynden

Semi.

Cons.

5th

Cameron Loos (Hockinson)

Erik Jacobson (Orting)

James Swanson (Anacortes)

L 9-3

L 3-2

W pin (2:35)

285 POUNDS

School

Round

Opponent (School)

Results

Briley Funk

Sehome

Cons.*

Cons.

7th

Garrett Pederson (Cheney)

Cy Hicks (Tumwater)

Kenny Marll (Orting)

W pin (2:52)

L pin (1:36)

L pin (2:24)

*Late result from Friday, Feb. 19

Class 3A

126 POUNDS

School

Round

Opponent (School)

Results

Eli Croy

Ferndale

Cons.

Cons.

5th

Abdi Farah (Rainier Beach)

Christian Freund (Kelso)

Mason Sabin (Bonney Lake)

W pin (2:48)

L 6-5

L 10-0

145 POUNDS

School

Round

Opponent (School)

Results

Noah Saenz

Ferndale

Cons.

7th

Alec Manke (Shelton)

Cameron Bowerman (North Central)

L 4-3

W 9-5

160 POUNDS

School

Round

Opponent (School)

Results

Braiden Klimp

Ferndale

Cons.

Cons.

5th

Garret Owen-Bisson (Mount Tahoma)

Eddie Montiel (Shadle Park)

Aaron Jumpa (Bainbridge)

W 13-2

L 4-0

L 13-4

182 POUNDS

School

Round

Opponent (School)

Results

Ben Broselle

Ferndale

Semi.

Cham.

Arie VanVeen (Stanwood)

Kione Gill (Enumclaw)

W tech. fall (5:01)

W 8-4

195 POUNDS

School

Round

Opponent (School)

Results

Sam Cleary

Ferndale

Semi.

Cons.

5th

Bowen McConville (Kennedy Catholic)

Colton Paller (Shelton)

Colton Ferro (Arlington)

L pin (5:15)

L 7-2

L 4-2

WIAA.com

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