EVERETT — Stanwood wrestling coach Ray Mather was waiting for the other shoe to drop.
His young team had beaten the odds on their way to an undefeated dual-meet record in the 2018-19 season, earning some tight victories by small margins that could have easily gone against the Spartans.
“We’ve been living a charmed life for a few weeks now,” Mather said Friday after Everett dealt the Spartans their first defeat of the year in a 49-24 Wesco 3A North encounter at Norm Lowery Gymnasium. “We’re a young team.”
Coincidentally, it was an Everett freshman that drove the final nail into the Spartans’ coffin Friday, as 113-pounder Chaves Petronave, trailing throughout his bout with Stanwood freshman Cameron O’Neill, rallied midway through the third period and pinned O’Neill at the 5:02 mark.
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The win gave the Seagulls (6-2 overall, 3-1 Wesco 3A North) an insurmountable 14-point advantage with two bouts remaining in the dual, but Everett won those final two matches as well.
“People told me that was a kid that I wasn’t supposed to beat,” Petronave said. “He caught me with the leg ride in the beginning of the match and I wasn’t expecting it. I just focused on getting out of it, and pressing forward. I didn’t give up.”
Petronave trailed 7-1 after the first period and 11-5 after the second, but registered a takedown of O’Neill that led to a fall with 58 seconds remaining on the clock. The pin delighted the Seagulls’ fans, and Petronave’s teammates mobbed him after the win.
“I felt like the home crowd really pumped me up in the buildup to my match,” he said. “I wouldn’t have been able to do what I did tonight without them.”
Everett coach Brien Elliott said he preached patience to Petronave before the bout.
“We talked before the match about how (O’Neill) would be better than us on our feet, but once we got it on the mat, we’d be able to put some pressure on and go for the pin,” Elliott said. “We thought that a pin would be the only way for us to win the match, and sure enough, that’s what happened.”
Mather said that O’Neill, a freshman wrestling his first match since Dec. 8 due to injury, didn’t have the seasoning to respond to Petronave’s rally.
“(Petronave) has been wrestling a lot, in some JV tournaments and things like that, and we’ve got to learn when to give up on some attacks and move on to other things,” Mather said.
Everett’s win, coupled with Marysville Pilchuck’s win at Arlington on Friday, brought the race for the Wesco 3A North championship into greater focus.
Marysville Pilchuck is now 4-0 in conference duals, with Everett a game back at 3-1. The Tomahawks, who beat Everett 48-24 on Dec. 20 in Marysville, can clinch at least a share of the league title with a win at Oak Harbor on Tuesday.
Stanwood (2-1), Marysville Getchell (2-2), Arlington (2-3), Snohomish (1-4) and Oak Harbor (0-4) round out the standings as the penultimate week of the regular season comes to a close.
Each coach shuffled his lineup considerably Friday, bumping wrestlers up and down in weight classes to try and get better matchups.
Elliott and Everett got the better of Mather and Stanwood on this occasion, and that was evident in the bout at 152 pounds. Mather elected to keep Jeremy Williams, ranked 12th in 3A according to Washington Wrestling Report in his slot at 152 pounds against No. 6 Riley Bennett.
In a high-energy match, Bennett held off Williams in a 12-6 decision that Elliott said was critical to the Seagulls’ win.
Other highlights of the evening included Stanwood’s Riley Van Scoy, ranked first in the state at 160 pounds and undefeated in his junior season (32-0) pouring on the style in his first-period pin of Everett’s Thad Zwar, hitting a leg cradle to record the fall.
The Seagulls’ Jonah Palabrica, ranked 12th in 3A at 106 and Fernie Vasquez, ranked 12th at 126, were both very impressive in their respective victories via technical fall.