LAKE STEVENS — The beauty of having wrestling dual meets begin at a randomly selected weight class is that the fulcrum on which the dual pivots could land on anyone’s shoulders.
Lake Stevens and Stanwood’s standouts all showed out Thursday in a non-conference dual in the Vikings’ sparkling new gym, but it was junior Christian Anderson’s pin of the Spartans’ Dustin Campbell at 126 pounds that set Lake Stevens on its way to a 49-24 win.
After taking a commanding 25-9 lead after seven of the 14 bouts of the evening (starting at 160 pounds), Lake Stevens saw its lead dwindle to four points after back-to-back wins by Stanwood freshmen Tyler Rhue at 106 pounds (8-6 over Theron Tate) and Bryan Roodzant at 113 (pinned Thinh Tong) made it 25-21.
Up stepped Anderson to battle Campbell, also a junior. Anderson wasted little time, cradling Campbell in the first period to take the lead and again in the second to earn the pin that gave the Vikings some breathing room.
Brayden Bowers’ first-period pin of Stanwood’s Cameron O’Neill at 132, also on a cradle, widened Lake Stevens’ lead to 37-21.
“You just never know what’s going to happen and where things are going to fall,” said Lake Stevens coach Brent Barnes, who has seen more than his share of pulsating duals in his Hall of Fame career. “What’s great is that it puts kids like Christian on the spot, and it makes him a huge part of it. It was a cool moment, especially with (Brayden) Bowers back-to-back.”
Stanwood’s Isaac Ortega made the Vikings wait to clinch the win with his 5-3 decision over Elijah Schmitt in a tightly contested bout at 138 between two talented wrestlers.
“That was a fantastic high school match, with two kids who are both really good from neutral,” Barnes said.
Stanwood coach Ray Mather said that it was the first time during the young season that Ortega, a third-place state finisher at 132 last season, had to wrestle into the third period, and the chiseled junior may have been fighting a bit of fatigue.
“He’s done a pretty good job of handling things pretty quick this season, but now he knows what it feels like to be a little oxygen-deprived in the third period and have his muscles screaming at him a little bit.”
The Vikings, who were without 120-pounder Tyler Fouts (concussion) and freshman standout 113-pounder Jake Hubby Jr. (unspecified) finally sealed it when Caden Cauley pinned Evan Agledal at 145, giving Lake Stevens a nine-point lead with one bout remaining. Wyatt Springer decked freshman Ryder Bumgarner at 152 to cap the evening.
Mather started six freshmen against Lake Stevens on Thursday, and also gave away 12 points in forfeits at 182 and 285 pounds. The Stanwood coach was pleased with how his young team acquitted itself against the Vikings.
“All our guys have check marks of what they’re doing well and what they could be doing better at,” Mather said. “We know we have to work on protecting leads and not getting pinned when we’re ahead. I thought we competed against a storied program very well.”
The five bouts won by Stanwood on Thursday were wrestled by three freshmen (Rhue, Roodzant and 120-pounder Keaton Mayernik) and two returning state semifinalists (Ortega and newly minted state career pins leader Riley Van Scoy).
Mayernik was particularly impressive in a second-period pin of Lake Stevens’ Aiden Eberlein, a match the freshman controlled from the outset.
“That’s a very talented young group,” Barnes said of the Spartans. “They’re going to be a force to be reckoned with, even this year. They have the bodies to make a run at a trophy. And they’re going to do nothing but get better.”
Van Scoy broke the record for career pins last Saturday in the semifinal round of the Return of the Seahawk Tournament at Chief Sealth High School by decking Joseph Lawrence of Rogers (Spokane) in 24 seconds for his 113th win by fall, eclipsing the mark of 112 set by Yelm’s Darren Harris in 2015.
A pin in the finals on Saturday and another against Lake Stevens’ Ali Hasan on Thursday brings Van Scoy’s career total to 115, and it could approach 150 by the end of the season.
Harris set the record during the postseason of his senior year, so breaking the mark so early in his final prep campaign gives Van Scoy the opportunity to put considerable distance between anyone looking to knock him off the perch.