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Bothell's Davidson snags fifth, two Viks take sixth/4A State Wrestling
A pair of Inglemoor High grapplers and Bothell High’s lone state representative came away with some medals last weekend at the Tacoma Dome’s Mat Classic XXIII, the state wrestling tournament.
SOMETHING TO BUILD ON
Bothell’s wrestling program has plenty to be excited about for the future as super sophomore Brandon Davidson — younger brother of assistant coach and 2004 130-pound state champion Justin Davidson — went 4-2 at the Mat Classic to place fifth in the 145-pound class.
“It’s something to build on,” said Bothell head coach Scott LaBrash. “Hopefully he can go out there and follow in his brother’s shoes.”
Brandon, who has been battling injuries all season, peaked when it mattered most during his first trip to the Dome.
He started with a 9-3 decision over Tahoma’s Tanner Mjelde, and dropped into the consolation bracket by falling to eventual second-place finisher Nico Moreno of Moses Lake in 3 minutes, 11 seconds.
On Saturday and being guaranteed a medal, he came back strong, pinning Mount Rainier’s Alex Pieris in 2:26 before falling late in overtime to South Kitsap’s Cody Barich, in 7:36, concluding one of the most thrilling matches of the tournament.
In the 5th/6th-place final, he finished strong, scoring early points and then holding on for a 9-4 decision over Lake Stevens senior Jack Reeves.
“He wrestled great today, it’s good to see him come back the way he did from yesterday,” LaBrash said. “He was being aggressive in his motion and movement. He’s a great wrestler when he’s on his feet. When he’s wrestling good, he’s tough to stop.”
With two more years left, Brandon said that his mindset was to be aggressive out of the gate and feed off inspiration from his brother, who was coaching him matside throughout the tournament.
“It means a lot,” said Brandon on placing at state. “My brother was a three-time state placer, so I’d like to match him up on that. I’ve just been working hard the whole season. I’ve had a lot of downs, but I’m glad I pulled it together.”
PERFORMING WITH PRIDE
Inglemoor seniors Anthony Bratcher, wrestling at 135, and Ben Grabowski, 171, both placed sixth.
Ben Carson (215) also won a match at state, defeating Kentwood’s Daniel Park, 4-3, before getting pinned twice to fall short of making Saturday’s finals action.
“I’m real proud of our guys,” said Inglemoor co-head coach Kevin Corbett on his team’s performance. “The kids have been working hard all year. We got a young team, but it’s always nice to get seniors to come away from their wrestling experience with some medals for all their hard work and dedication to the program, and the sport of wrestling.”
Although the Vikings went undefeated in dual meets this year in the 4A Kingco league and were able to push six wrestlers through to the Mat Classic, three Inglemoor wrestlers — Josh Koukal, Ian Bedo and Olivia Burton — saw first hand that competing at the state level is an entirely different story as they each went two-and-out.
While that trio will be returning next season in an effort to finish on the podium, it was the team’s upperclassmen that shined during their last run at state.
Bratcher, who ran a 31-2 record into the Mat Classic, started his run by defeating Tyler Davis of Union 9-5, before losing a 13-11 thriller to Tahoma’s Dan Haniger. Needing a win to place at state, he rose to the occasion and beat Battle Ground’s Adam Peterson, 13-9, and led off Saturday’s action with a decisive 10-4 win over Matt Cuzzetto before dropping his last two bouts, 4-2 and 8-2.
“Anthony’s a senior that’s been in our program and really committed himself to wrestling,” said Corbett, adding that 135 is a “really, really tough” weight class. “Anytime you come away with (a medal) it says something. It was a great tournament, and we’re really happy for him.”
The Vikings’ “most improved” award might go to Grabowski, who did not even wrestle varsity last season.
Grabowski, holding a 23-3 record heading into Tacoma, came into his own in the postseason, winning the Kingco title and then placing third at regionals to earn his state berth. In his second round Mat Classic matchup, Grabowski pulled off an upset of No. 1 seed Jeff Seid of Kentridge, 5-3, to earn a spot in the semifinals against Jordan Rogers of Mead.
Only two wins away from the title, Grabowski came back to reality as Rogers, the eventual state champion, pinned him in just 1:30 and then was shut out the rest of the way, losing to Kentlake’s Jesse Keliiliki, 10-0, and getting pinned again by Kadyn Del Toro of Curtis in 4:50.
“It’s real tough once you’re so close, but come second day you’re wrestling a match every hour,” Corbett explained. “For a guy that didn’t even wrestle varsity for us last year, to come in senior year like this and perform so well, we’re proud of him and he should really be happy with his performance.”