Prior to last week, Gig Harbor and Peninsula high schools hadn’t wrestled each other as part of a dual meet in eight years.
After resuming the series Jan. 12 as co-members of the new Class 3A South Sound Conference, the Tides may be wishing the hiatus lasted a bit longer.
Peninsula dominated from start to finish, winning all but two weight classes and beating the Tides by a final team score of 60-8.
“There was a lot of pride being able to bring it back and show that Peninsula — we dominate,” said Peninsula senior 152-pounder Seth Wahto, who won his match by decision.
The Seahawks, who have a bigger and more experienced team, had been looking forward to the showdown with their crosstown rivals.
We’ve been hyping it up all week. We’ve never done it in my entire high school career. It’s really nice to have the crosstown rivalry, something to look forward to.
Seth Wahto, Peninsula wrestler
“It was a nice atmosphere,” Wahto said. “We’ve been hyping it up all week. We’ve never done it in my entire high school career. It’s really nice to have the crosstown rivalry, something to look forward to. It felt a little more special, felt more energized.”
Peninsula head coach Mark Nickels had a scheduling conflict, leaving assistant Gary Griffin to assume control of the team for the meet.
“I thought we performed a lot better tonight,” Griffin said after the meet. “We’ve been not performing at our best. I think our guys stepped their game up. They understand the importance of wrestling against the crosstown rival. We haven’t wrestled in about eight years. It’s nice to get it up and running. We came out on top. We just won the competitive ones.”
It didn’t help that Gig Harbor was forced to forfeit five weight classes against Peninsula. But of the eight matches that took place, Peninsula won six.
Peninsula won with Riley Wynn at 120, Michael Campigotto at 126, Nathan Johnson at 132, Cayman Smith at 138, Seth Wahto at 152, and Issac Esterly at heavyweight. Gavin Allen, Brock Allen, Drew Ramsey and Roger Kaffer picked up wins by forfeit for the Seahawks.
For Gig Harbor, Zach Batanian picked up a thrilling, sudden-death win in the fourth round at 182; Zayne Ball won by technical fall at 160.
All in all, it was a dominant effort from the Seahawks.
It’s something we focused on — no free passes. Capitalize on everything. When you take rests, bad things happen. That’s just been the big focus for us: Finish.
Gary Griffin, Peninsula assistant wrestling coach
“It’s something we focused on — no free passes,” Griffin said. “Capitalize on everything. When you take rests, bad things happen. That’s just been the big focus for us: Finish.”
Gig Harbor coach Jacob Spadoni felt the effort and execution was lacking from his team.
“I’m disappointed with some kids,” Spadoni said. “Some matches should’ve been a lot closer. Some kids didn’t really show up to wrestle. I’m proud of how Zayne wrestled and how Zach wrestled.”
Spadoni was encouraged by Ball and Batanian, who picked up wins for the Tides.
“(Batanian) has a really good gas tank,” Spadoni said. “He can go the distance.”
Ball, just a sophomore, dominated his match and enjoyed the opportunity to wrestle against Peninsula and resume the rivalry.
“We had a lot more people show up,” Ball said. “It was more of a rivalry than usual. There was some excitement, which was pretty cool.”
Peninsula’s Wynn was impressive in his match in the 120-pound weight class, as was Campigotto at 126. Both wrestlers earned pins.
“I think that’s a match (Wynn) should win,” Griffin said. “He was dominant. He’s where he should be. (Campigotto) kind of been a mainstay for us (at the state meet). We expect him to be right where he is and we’ll just keep polishing him up. With our seniors, we expect them to dominate. He did exactly what we wanted him to do tonight.”