Gig Harbor High senior wrestlers Zayne Ball and John Bittinger have received the bulk of the attention over the past few seasons — and deservedly so. But as the program has grown over the past few seasons, other wrestlers are making a name for themselves, also. That includes senior Zach Batanian, who is currently wrestling in the 195-pound weight class.
Batanian has posted an 11-9 record this year, and hopes to get down to the 182-pound weight class in time for the postseason.
His wrestling prowess was on full display during last week’s dual-meet against crosstown rival Peninsula High School, where Batanian earned a second-round pin over his opponent, RJ Garlick.
“I just try to have a good mindset going in, push the pace and keep the match going,” Batanian said.
Batanian has plenty of strength, and has some sneaky agility to accompany it.
“It makes him really tough,” said Gig Harbor wrestling coach Jacob Spadoni. “He’s really tough to score on and he’s really tough to pin. You can probably credit that to Max Batanian, his older brother, for beating up on him for the first two years of high school.”
Batanian is hoping he can peak at the right time and find himself in the Tacoma Dome’s Mat Classic in February.
“I think I’ve honed in on just taking aggressive shots, taking smarter shots,” Batanian said. “That’s been my biggest improvement this year. Just trying to be a more explosive wrestler at bottom, get out quick and start scrambles. I hope to get to state this year. That’s the big goal.”
As Spadoni continues to build the program up and increase participation numbers in the wrestling room, Batanian’s presence and veteran leadership has been a bonus for the squad.
“He’s just a great leader to have on the team,” Spadoni said. “He’s a guy that you can count on, he’s a guy that when the match is close, you can really count on him for closing that gap and beating some good kids. He’s done it over the past two years that I’ve been here.”
Gig Harbor is participating in the Klahowya Tournament on Saturday (Jan. 27). The Class 3A South Sound Conference league meet is Feb. 2 and 3 at North Thurston High School.