Eagles surprise at Everett Classic
Arlington, which features nine freshmen, places fourth at 27-team event
The wrestling tournament -- held annually at Everett High School since 1983 -- was relocated to Jackson this season due to construction at the Everett gymnasium. Aside from the location change, it was the same, enormous event.
The 30th edition of the Everett Classic featured eight wrestling mats of action, 16-wrestler brackets, 27 schools and 600 wrestlers all hustling around the Jackson High School gymnasium in a constant flurry of action.
Then they wrestled.
Arlington, which features nine freshmen on its team, surprised everyone -- including its coach -- as the Eagles finished fourth overall at the tournament, finishing one point ahead of fifth-place Mount Si.
"Oh wow," said Arlington head coach Rick Iversen when he found out of the close margin of victory. "That's way more than we expected. ... To place fourth with this many teams here, that's honorable. We're happy."
The Eagles had two wrestlers win individual titles: Jeremy Nygard at 106-pounds and Scotty Bardell in the 152-pound weight class.
Nygard, a freshman, lost his first match of the year in Arlington's last meet, making him 11-1 going into the Everett Classic. There he swept all four bouts -- including a 4-2 decision over Tyler Headland of Lake Stevens in the title match -- to improve to 15-1.
"He's a small kid," Iversen said. "He only weighs 97 pounds. So he gives up 10 percent of his body weight wrestling those kids up at 106 (pounds). He competes very well. We expected him to do well in the finals."
Bardell, who participated in last year's state tournament, was the other individual champion.
Iversen said he was especially surprised because Arlington was missing four wrestlers that he said "would have scored points" at the Everett Classic. One Eagle was on vacation, another was hurt and two more were sick.
Iversen, in his second year as coach of Arlington, sees his young team growing up and improving before his eyes.
"I see us gaining ground," Iversen said. "The kids have got to realize that they're always in it. They're coming along."
Jessie Lopez won a title for the "host" Everett with a 9-2 decision over Arlington's Bryce Thomas in the 138-pound title bout. It was the fourth straight Everett Classic win for the senior, matching a mark set by former Seagull -- and three-time All-American at Michigan -- Otto Olson.
"I don't remember anyone doing that, except for Otto Olson," said Everett head coach, and meet organizer, Brien Elliott.
Elliott also pointed out that Lopez, who is 19-0 this year, needs 13 wins to break Olson's career wins record.
He said it's only a matter of time before Lopez overtakes Olson.
"Jessie's sneaking up on Otto's career wins record," Elliott said. "He's going to pass that this year."
After his final bout of the day ended around 7:30, Lopez, who had been at Jackson High School since 6:55 in the morning to weigh in, knew exactly how he wanted to celebrate.
"I just want to go to bed," he said. "I'm so tired."
Timberline ran away with the team title with 175 points. Ferndale (136) and Ellensburg (135.5) finished second and third, respectively, followed by Arlington (108) and Mount Si (107).
In sixth place was Meadowdale (102), led by champions Morgan Smith (182-pounds) and Ciaran Ball (195-pounds).
Mariner (96.5) got seventh, and was followed by Squalicum (84.5), Hazen (67.5) and Oak Harbor (66) to round out the top ten.
The hosts, Everett (59.5) and Jackson (39), finished 12th and 16th respectively, while running around making sure the Everett Classic went off without a flaw.
Elliott, who was all over the gym while wearing an old school Steve Largent Seahawks jersey, is in his 17th year coaching the Seagulls and running the tournament. He also competed in the tournament while he was a wrestler at Everett High School.
"It's just like coaching a team," Elliott said of being in charge of the Classic, "You get into a routine."
Jackson head coach Sherm Iversen, Rick Iversen's son, said his team was there to do what they could, including unrolling wrestling mats.
"We're just helping out," the Timberwolves' coach said.
They left a good impression on at least one coach.
"Everett and Jackson both did a great job of hosting this," Rick Iversen said. "We want to be in this thing every year."
At Jackson H.S.
Team scores: 1. Timberline 175; 2. Ferndale 136; 3. Ellensburg 135.5; 4. Arlington 108; 5. Mount Si 107; 6. Meadowdale 102; 7. Mariner 96.5; 8. Squalicum 84.5; 9. Hazen 67.5; 10. Oak Harbor 66; 11. Newport 64; 12. Everett 59.5; 13. Vashon Island 58.5; 14. Mount Vernon 55; 15. Lake Stevens 54; 16. Jackson 39; 17. Lake Washington 34; 18. Archbishop Murphy 26; 19. Edmonds-Woodway 25; 20. Lakeside 23; 21. Interlake 22.5; 22. Chief Sealth 19; 23. La Conner 17; 24. Blaine 15; 25. Lynnwood 3.
Top local finishers
106--1. Jeremy Nygard (Arlington); 2. Tyler Headland (Lake Stevens); 3. AJ Crew (Lake Stevens);
120--2. Devin Jones (Lake Stevens); 126--3. Luis Reyna (Mount Vernon); 132--2. Rafael Ibarra (Mount Vernon); 3. Jahleel Vester (Oak Harbor); 138--1. Jessie Lopez (Everett); 2. Bryce Thomas (Arlington); 3. Jacob Fitzgerald (Oak Harbor); 145--2. Andrew Villalobos (Mariner); 152--1. Scotty Bardell (Arlington); 2. Jasen Bergesen (Everett); 3. Jesse Driscoll (Arlington); 160--1. Josh Crebbin (Oak Harbor); 3. Colton Davis (Meadowdale); 182--1. Morgan Smith (Meadowdale); 3. Tommy Duong (Mariner); 3. Jake Ferro (Arlington); 195--1. Ciaran Ball (Meadowdale); 3. Foster Wade (Archbishop Murphy); 220--3. Tim Smith (Meadowdale); 285--3. Reeyad Ali (Jackson).
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