EVERETT — With three matches to go in Thursday’s wrestling meet between Everett and Stanwood, the Seagulls held what looked to be a comfortable 16-point lead.
The Spartans only chance of winning was to score at least two pins and one technical fall in the final three matches.
After two of the three, they were right on track.
Everett’s Christian Bagdadi spoiled Stanwood’s comeback by defeating Jacob Cole 3-2 in the final match of the evening to give the Seagulls a 37-29 victory.
“That’s wrestling,” Everett coach Brien Elliot said. “Wrestling is a lot like life. You have adversity thrown at you and you have to take it and overcome it. You can’t sit there and cry about it. You have to get going.”
Cole took an early 2-0 lead in the final match, but Bagdadi responded with a one-point escape and a two-point takedown in the final moments to earn the win.
“Getting the win like that, overcoming adversity and following through with the win was really neat to see,” Elliot said.
The Seagulls remain unbeaten this season, improving to 2-0 in league and 6-0 overall, while the Spartans fell to 1-1 and 4-1. The win also gave Everett sole possession of first place in the Wesco 3A north.
“It’s really all about the postseason,” Elliot said. “That’s nice and fun for the kids, but we’re really trying to prepare them for the end and we feel like we could have wrestled better tonight in some areas.”
The Spartans were able to give themselves an opportunity to win, despite giving the Seagulls six points by forfeiting at 106 pounds. Stanwood had been used to giving up more than that previously in the season.
“We’ve got some grade issues and some kids that are sick right now,” Mather said. “We haven’t had a full lineup, we’ve always been forfeiting two weight classes. We’re never the favorite. Even though we’ve been doing pretty well this year, we’re never the favorite.”
The matches that both coaches were looking to the most were at 160 and 170 pounds. All four competitors in those two matches are state-caliber wrestlers and have competed well against each other in the past. Stanwood won the battle within the battle, sweeping both matches. Dalton Gilman defeated Pablo Yeo 8-1 at 160 pounds and Anthony Ortega outlasted Anthony Hawkins 10-5 at 170 pounds.
“Those were key matches and we were able to turn them around because last year we lost to them,” Mather said. “I was happy with how that worked.”
Elliot was not as pleased.
“Pablo Yeo wrestled well, but there was a lot of scoring opportunities that he missed out on and he was hesitant and the same with Hawkins,” he said. “We’re just trying to get those guys ready for the end.”
Elliot was also pleased with two of his wrestlers in the heavier weight classes, Anthony Brown, who earned a pin at 195 pounds and Andrew Johnson, who did the same at 285.
Fittingly though, one of the most competitive matches of the night was the final match between Bagdadi and Cole.
“At no point did I really feel in jeopardy of them getting a pin to win,” Elliot said. “I didn’t feel like that was going to happen because it was going to be a close match and a nail-biter.”
Mather knew the Spartans needed a pin to win and wanted Cole to be aggressive, but the focus was just winning the match, not necessarily getting a pin.
“You’d like to talk to him to get (a pin), but when you look at the caliber of (the wrestlers) sometimes that’s a pretty tall task,” Mather said. “You’ve got to start with winning and then try to find bonus points. That was two top qualities wrestlers. It was going to be the type of match and both those guys don’t get pinned. It’s pretty tough to ask him to do it, but that’s what you need.”
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on twitter @aaronlommers and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Evergreen Middle School
106–Leah Klein (Ev) won by forfeit; 113–Sean Underhill (Ev) pinned Larissa Ruiz 4:50; 120–Glenn Bennett (S) pinned Patrick West 5:15; 126–West Weinhert (S) tech. fall Brian Sanchez 16-0; 132–Christian Bagdadi (Ev) def. Jacob Cole 3-2; 138–Michael Allred (Ev) def. Kane Ayling 8-7; 145–Quentin Watson (Ev) maj. dec. Arie Van Veen 13-2; 152–Jasen Bergesen (Ev) def. Jakob Keizer 10-5; 160–Dalton Gilman (S) dec. Pablo Yeo 8-1; 170–Anthony Ortega (S) dec. Anthony Hawkins 10-5; 182–Garret Afrona (S) pinned Silvino Garcia 1:57; 195–Anthony Brown (Ev) pinned Alex Hurn 2:53; 220–Foster Wade (S) pinned 2:54; 285–Andrew Johnson (Ev) pinned Roy Peratovich 2:21. Records–Stanwood 1-1 league, 4-1 overall. Everett 2-0, 6-0.