VIKING WRESTLERS SHINE ON SENIOR NIGHTBY ANDREW KUNAS | CONTRIBUTING WRITER
For several wrestlers, Thursday night was their last night wrestling on their home mat at Lake Stevens High School, and they made it a memorable one, besting the Everett Seagulls 54-13 in a Western Conference North dual.
The Vikings, ranked No. 1 in the state in the 4A classification, now just have this Thursday’s dual at Oak Harbor before two weeks of district and regional tournaments before the state championships in Tacoma on Feb. 20 and 21.
Senior Zach Teuber opened things up with a technical fall victory in four minutes over Everett’s Airick Snow at 285 pounds. Tueber racked up six takedowns in the first period for 12-5 lead and then scored a reversal and had a pair of near falls, the second one coming at the end of the second period and securing the 20-5 technical fall.
Sophomore Ryan Rodorigo scored the first of six pins by Lake Stevens when he had Dominic Simonelli on his back in 1:25 in the 112 pound bout. The next match, at 119 pounds, saw junior Josh Heinzer pin Everett senior Michael Bearer in 4:43. Senior Jack Stillwell had his shining moment on senior night when he pinned Everett’s Murray Pendergrass in just 53 seconds to put the Vikings up 17-3 early on.
Sean Anderson’s final home match was also a victory, as he earned a 13-5 major decision over Everett’s Jack Forrest. At 135 pounds, senior Kyle Johnson also won his last home match with a 7-0 shutout decision over Joel Palabrica. Andrew King, not a senior, did also pin his opponent in 5:30 in the 145 pound match.
Wins by seniors continued for Lake Stevens when B.J. Alewine and former state champion George King both pinned their opponents. At 140 pounds, Alewine tossed Josh Anderson around for more than three minutes before pinning him. At 152 pounds, King made quick work of Everett senior Tyler Pound, pinning him in just 41 seconds. Jake Welch’s last home match was a 5-0 shutout decision over Everett’s Cary Irwin.
The best match of senior night was probably the last match that featured a pair of juniors. Justin Grow, who usually competes in the 189 pound class, moved up to 215 to take on Everett junior Alec Bird, who had at least 23 pounds on Grow.
Neither wrestler gained the upper hand in the first period as they were scoreless. Grow went down to start the second period and earned a point for an escape, but neither man got far in the second period after that either.
Bird started down in the intense third period and then made things interesting as he scored a reversal on Grow for a 2-1 lead. Grow fought furiously to free himself, but Bird held his grip around Grow as time was winding down. Knowing that time was running out and he was down a single point, Grow, seemingly out of pure will, pried himself free from his larger opponent to earn the tying escape point with just five seconds left as the Lake Stevens crowd roared its approval.
Tied 2-2 in sudden death overtime, Bird and Grow struggled to get an advantage, until with 26 seconds left Grow finally grabbed a firm hold of Bird and took him down for the big, crowd pleasing victory.
Thursday’s dual at Oak Harbor is at 7 p.m. The district tournament, to be held at Marysville-Pilchuck High School, will be held Friday night, Feb. 6 and all day Saturday, Feb. 7. The regional tournament will be at Snohomish High School on Feb. 14.