After he watched his Peninsula High wrestlers get mauled in Thursday’s dual meet against Enumclaw, Seahawks coach Mark Nickels said what everyone else in the gym was likely thinking.
“There’s no question — Enumclaw is a tough team,” Nickels said. “We’re good, they’re great, and that’s just kind of where we’re at.”
Enumclaw, which is gunning for its fifth Class 3A state title in six years, made quick work of Peninsula in South Puget Sound League action. The Hornets took advantage of three forfeits and won 10 of the 11 contested bouts to claim a 65-6 triumph.
However, the Seahawks weren’t competing at full strength. Regular starters Ryan Valley (138 pounds) and Jake Ricco (152) sat out after they sustained injuries a few days earlier at the All-SPSL tournament, and 132-pound starter Tommy Foreman served an academic suspension.
Peninsula’s lone victory came from senior Casey Larson, who dropped down a weight class and pinned Justin Mitchell in the 152-pound bout.
The pair wrestled conservatively for the first three minutes. Leading 4-1, Larson’s patience paid off when he got Mitchell to overcommit, and Larson finished the pin in 3 minutes, 57 seconds.
“One of the things that Casey can do is get a little overzealous and jump into a situation,” Nickels said. “He was patient, he waited for things to open up, he made things open up, and just took it when it came.”
The Seahawks had chances for victories in other matches, but they couldn’t capitalize at key moments.
Peninsula’s Luke Holsinger (170) couldn’t complete an early pin of Falani Gill, although he had him in a lengthy near-fall position. The match had to be stopped twice because of blood dripping from Gill’s nose, but Gill rallied to take the lead in the third period and won, 8-7, when Holsinger barely missed a late takedown attempt.
Nickels was glad Holsinger didn’t win by injury default.
“It’s a good thing it didn’t end that way and we were able to wrestle it out,” Nickels said, “and I think that’s just going to make Luke all the more anxious to get another go at it.”
In terms of talent, the match of the night was at 145 pounds, where Peninsula’s Randy Nimrick and Enumclaw’s Lucas Somera met for the second time in a week.
Somera earned takedowns in the first and third periods, and he kept Nimrick glued to the mat the rest of the way for a 4-0 decision.
It was a better result for Nimrick after Somera, a two-time state champion, pinned him during the All-SPSL tourney.
“This time, he came out and he wrestled his match,” Nickels said, “and it was not giving too much credit anymore to Somera and what he’s done. Randy’s done some stuff himself.”
The Seahawks forced two other matches to go the full six minutes, but the Hornets won both decisions.
At 126, William Lester picked up a reversal and closed within 7-4 in the second period, but Enumclaw’s Jared Paul eluded Lester’s shots and scored twice more to win 11-5.
At 195, Peninsula’s Chance Stolz trailed the whole way against Wylie Stewart. A third-period takedown gave him hope, but Stewart polished off a 15-9 win with a late near fall.
Five of Enumclaw’s wins came by pin. Kyle Opland (106) beat Kelly Polk in 1:11, Garrett Jarosz (120) beat Daryn Hanshew in 2:55, Tyke Reid (132) topped Zach Herbold in 1:34, Jayden Fend (138) beat Kevin McPherson in 1:16, and Jared Semon (285) topped Tre Starks in 1:18.
Enumclaw’s Ryan Anderson (160) earned five team points with his 18-0 technical fall against Zane Holland.
Peninsula will return to SPSL action Wednesday at Bonney Lake, and it will host Auburn Mountainview in its final league dual match Jan. 16.Sports Editor Neil Pierson can be reached at 253-358-4155 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @gateway_neil.