This weekend Stone found it and exploited it each time he had the opportunity en route to a district crown and a spot at next week's regionals.
Stone, who could have wrestled in a loaded 160-pound division but chose to wrestle up, pinned the No. 2-seed, Everett's Anthony Hawkins, in the semifinal and Oak Harbor's Courtney Shavers in the championship -- both pins coming near the middle of the second round -- to win the 170-pound title at the Wesco 3A North District Tournament at Stanwood H.S.
"I talked with coach (Todd) Freeman before the match about having a plan and looking for opportunities," Stone said. "Some of them are bigger and definitely stronger and when that happens I try to wait for them to gas out and then find a moment. You can feel it. They ease up a little bit."
Stone was one of three Chargers wrestlers to win individual titles, including heavyweight Alfredo Diaz and 113-pounder Billy Almachar. Almachar had been sick all week but he came ready to go Saturday, beating Ferndale's Isaiah Heredia 7-3 in the semifinals and Stanwood's Nathan McCaughan in the championship match 10-5.
"The first time I saw him all week was (Friday) and he looked OK," Freeman said. "He was better today, but to come through and win the district tournament makes you wonder what he can do next week healthy."
In just its second year of existence, Marysville Getchell had nine wrestlers place but finished in last place in the six-team tournament, which was won by Ferndale with 322.5 points. Stanwood, which tied Oak Harbor with 15 placers, scored 299.5 points to take second behind the Golden Eagles and just ahead of the Wildcats (285 points). Marysville Pilchuck (259) and Everett (174) were fourth and fifth, respectively.
"I didn't know Ferndale was as deep as they are," said Stanwood head coach Ray Mather of the Golden Eagles, who had just two individual champions but a district-best seven wrestlers take third place. "They really came here and wrestled tough and well. A lot of their guys weren't seeded and they really performed so that was impressive."
Mather was glad his team did come out on top of rival Oak Harbor, which beat the Spartans in a dual meet during the regular season. Stanwood advanced 10 wrestlers to regionals, including champions at 106 (West Weinert), 120 (Jacob Cole) and 152 (Zach Schut). Schut pinned teammate Dalton Gilman in the 152-pound final.
"I told them to wrestle because I don't want to make the choice for next week," Mathers said of Schut and Gilman. "They're both state placers so they get to decide as long as I told them: 'Don't injury each other.' "
Unlike in year's past, Wesco 3A was split up into two different district tournaments this year (for a story on the Wesco 3A South tournament, see C1). Because of the split only three wrestlers from each weight class advanced to next week's regionals, which left little room for mistakes and made the third-fourth place match a pressure-packed affair.
Some of the day's best matches occurred on the third-place mat, including Ferndale's Isaiah Heredia out-pointing Marysville Getchell's Rage Quick 11-8 and Stanwood's Keegan Noel beating teammate Nick Lewis 9-4.
"I hate seeing our own guys knock each other out. That was tough," Mather said of the Noel-Lewis match.
Marysville Pilchuck's Iggy Gabov (220 pounds) and Jory Cooper (285) both pinned their opponents in third-place matches to punch their tickets to regionals. Although Gabov and Cooper grabbing a spot at regionals wasn't a surprise it was for their teammate Jacob Greene, who was unseeded coming into the tournament. Greene lost to Stanwood's Cole in the semis, but battled back with pins of Ferndale's Colin Sutton and Marysville Getchell's Gabriel Broome to grab a spot at regionals and make it a clean sweep for kids named Jacob at 120 (Cole and Stanwood's Jacob Scott finished first and second, respectively, with Greene taking third).
In the aforementioned loaded 160-pound division Marysville Pilchuck sophomore Drew Hatch pinned Oak Harbor senior Joshua Crebbin midway through the second round after a physical match to win a district crown. The underclassmen finished sixth in state last season and said he wasn't fazed by being the favorite in a tough division.
"I don't care about that stuff. I just wrestle who's in front of me," Hatch said.
Hatch's teammate Killian Page gave defending state champion Everett's Jessie Lopez all he wanted int the 145-pound final. Page battled tough, losing to Lopez 11-7 to take second while Lopez was the Seagulls' lone champ.
Other champions included Oak Harbor's Jeremy Vester (126), Cody Fakkema (132) and Jacob Fitzgerald (138), Marysville Pilchuck's Ismael Perez (195) and Ferndale's Kam Williams (220).
Wesco 3A North District Tournament
At Stanwood H.S.
Team results: Ferndale 322.5, Stanwood 299.5, Oak Harbor 285, Marysville Pilchuck 259.5, Everett 174, Marysville Getchell 155.5.
Championship match results: 106--West Weinert (S) pinned Christian Bertram (OH) 3:08; 113--Billy Almachar (MG) def. Nathan McCaughan (S) 10-5; 120--Jacob Cole (S) def. Jacob Scott (S) 11-4; 126--Jeremy Vester (OH) def. Ryan Daurie (MP) 4-2; 132--Cody Fakkema (OH) won by injury def. Jahleel Vester (OH); 138--Jacob Fitzgerald (OH) won by injury def. Mark Johnston (OH); 145--Jessie Lopez (E) def. Killian Page (MP) 11-7; 152--Zach Schut (S) pinned Dalton Gilman (S) 3:00; 160--Drew Hatch (MP) pinned Joshua Crebbin (OH) 3:12; 170--Cody Stone (MG) pinned Courtney Shavers (OH) 3:43; Sam Alexander (F) def. Klinton Maassen (F) 4-1; 195--Ismael Perez (MP) def. Garrett Arrona (S) 9-6; 220--Kam Williams (F) pinned Carlos Vilchis (S) 4:57; 285--Alfredo Diaz (MG) pinned Jackson Constant (OH) 1:36.
Other advancers (top 3 to regionals): 106--Mike Carpenter (F); 113--Isaiah Heredia (F); 120--Jacob Greene (MP); 126--Adaeus Wilson-Premo (F); 132--Derek Vajda (F); 138--Nathaniel Zinkand (S); 145--Riley Saenz (F); 152--Pablo Yeo (E); 160--Erik Engels (F); 170--Anthony Hawkins (E); 182--Keegan Noel (S); 195--Hunter Grundhurd (F); 220--Iggy Gabov (MP); 285--Jory Cooper (MP).
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