By David Krueger Herald Writer
SNOHOMISH — It wasn’t quite a perfect wrestling meet for the Snohomish Panthers.
But it was close.
Snohomish won the first two matches — and seven of the last nine bouts — to defeat Edmonds-Woodway 54-15 in a nonconference meet Thursday night at Snohomish High School.
“You always plan to go 84-0, but there’s some that didn’t go our way. That usually happens,” Snohomish head coach Rob Zabel said with a laugh.
Keaton Mills began the night by pinning his opponent in the 132-pound weight class, the first of six pins by the Panthers. After Riley Todd won a 14-2 decision at 152 pounds — sandwiched between wins by Edmonds-Woodway’s Hiram Martin (145 pounds) and Nathan Vulliet (160 pounds) — Mark Currier got Snohomish going with a 10-6 decision over the Warriors’ Jonah Perez at 170 pounds.
Currier’s triumph — the first of the sophomore’s varsity career — ushered in five-consecutive Panther victories, with Tristan Baus’ win by forfeit at 220 pounds clinching it for Snohomish.
Like Currier, it was Todd’s first varsity victory. The duo continue to impress Zabel with their strong work ethic.
“Those are guys working really hard and getting better,” Zabel said. “It’s nice to see the hard work pay off for them. They’re both key cogs in what we’re trying to do.”
Currier’s bout was one of the closest of the night. Another tight battle came in the 145-pound weight class where Edmonds-Woodway’s Martin outlasted Kiyoshi Akazawa in a 7-3 decision. It was the first victory of the night for Edmonds-Woodway — the ninth-place team at last year’s 4A state wrestling tournament — which got to within eight points after Vulliet’s 13-4 major decision.
But Snohomish’s run in the final nine matches put it away and helped the Panthers improve their record to 2-0 in this early season.
“We have a lot of growing left to do,” Zabel said. “There’s a lot of things we aren’t doing very well. But we’re so blessed as a coaching staff to have guys that work hard and put their egos aside to get better everyday.
“We’re good now. We have kids with aspirations to be great. That’s what makes it fun as a coach.”
Snohomish also got pins from Garrett Stich at 182 pounds, Justin Kearney (195), Wyatt Garder in the heavyweight bout, Brad Hodkinson (113) and sophomore Conner Snow, who pinned his opponent in the 126-pound weight class in 3 minutes, 1 second to end the meet and give Snohomish its final score.
Edmonds-Woodway 106-pounder Ebrima Fatty and Gabe Baltazar (120-pounds) got major decisions to earn four points apiece for the Warriors (1-1), who feature a familiar name for Zabel. Vulliet, a senior for Edmonds-Woodway, has an older brother, Andrew, that wrestled for the Warriors, and their dad is a good friend of Zabel’s.
The Snohomish coach had high praise for the Edmonds-Woodway wrestler and his family.
“Edmonds has had a bunch of kids named Vulliet,” Zabel said. “They’re great wrestlers and great kids. It’s nice when you’re competing against kids you really respect.”
Snohomish, which finished 23rd at the state wrestling tournament last year, is off to a strong start this season. However, Zabel said there is still a lot of areas for the Panthers to improve.
“The key thing is that drive to keep wanting to get better,” Zabel said. “We have had success and it would be easy for us to get to the point where we can just show up and beat people. … But as long as we can stay hungry and work hard, every day we can get better.”
At Snohomish H.S.
132—Keaton Mills (S) pinned Nathan Nash, 3:01; 138—Noah Bomar (S) tech. fall over Jonah Cortezzo, 16-1; 145—Hiram Martin (E-W) dec. Kiyoshi Akazawa, 7-3; 152—Riley Todd (S) maj. dec. Trevor Hendricks, 14-2; 160—Nathan Vulliet (E-W) maj. dec. Sawyer Sahlinger, 13-4; 170—Mark Currier (S) dec. Jonah Perez, 10-6; 182—Garrett Stich (S) pinned Spencer Schultz, 4:22; 195—Justin Kearney (S) pinned Jasen Turnquist, 1:04; 220—Tristan Baus (S) won by forfeit; 285—Wyatt Garder (S) pinned Cole Akers, 0:53; 106—Ebrima Fatty (E-W) maj. dec. Dillan Meyer, 14-0; 113—Brad Hodkinson (S) pinned Sidat Kanyi, 2:48; 120—Gabe Baltazar (E-W) maj. dec. Josh Christianson, 14-3; 126—Conner Snow (S) pinned Jackson Fair, 2:57. Records—Edmonds-Woodway 1-1. Snohomish 2-0.