Inglemoor wrestlers outlast Bothell and Mercer Island
February 4, 2009 · Updated 11:00 AM
The powerhouse Inglemoor High wrestling team beat two stellar programs during last Thursday’s 4A Kingco double-dual meet at Bothell High. The event pitted Inglemoor and Woodinville against Bothell and Mercer Island.
The night started with Inglemoor winning five matches in a row from the 145- to 189-pound weight classes en route to defeating a tough MI squad, 41-31, and then coming back from an 11-point deficit against Bothell to win, 40-33.
Mercer Island wrestled three athletes ranked in the top 20 of Class 3A, and the Vikings beat two of them.
Joey Speed (145) nearly pinned Islander Phil Frazier in the first round, but had to settle for a 12-10 decision, and at 189, Mike Lambert took care of Colton Knobel with a third-round pin.
“The kids are wrestling really well, we’ve been working on things and they’re going after it,” said Inglemoor head coach Kevin Corbett. “We’ve got a wonderful team. A good, hard-working group.”
After dropping their first meet to Woodinville, 46-22, the Cougars got ready to face the Vikings in an all-Northshore final on the featured mat at The Den.
The “young kittens,” as Bothell coach Matt Leonard calls his Cougar team, got off to a hot start against the Vikings.
The two teams traded forfeits at the 119- and 125-pound classes, and in the first battle of the meet, Inglemoor standout Anthony Bratcher (130) scored a decision against Bothell’s Chris Zemp, 11-2.
Then the floodgates opened for the Cougars.
Junior captain Spencer Cannon (135) and senior Brandon Reed (140) both earned pins, followed by a gutsy performance by Ryan Loutsis (145) in a grueling match against Inglemoor’s Joey Speed that went the distance, with Loutsis emerging the victor, 12-8, after taking a 7-0 lead in the first period.
With their backs to the wall trailing 22-10, the Viks went to work.
First, it was team captain and two-time national-team qualifier Daniel Nelson making quick work of Bothell’s Ben Arriola in 23 seconds.
“As a senior that has wrestled since he was 4 years old ... he’s really coming into his own,” said Corbett of his star wrestler.
Added Nelson, “My game plan was to just go out real tough, real hard. I haven’t wrestled these schools in a long time, so I wanted out and get a real quick pin.”
After Bothell’s Riley Schaeffer earned a pin at 160 to extend the Cougar lead back to 12 at 28-16, Inglemoor finished with a flourish as Mike Lambert (189), Aldo Torres (215) and heavyweight Travis Bogard all earned pins to complete the Viking comeback, 40-33.
Lambert, who achieved his pin of Bothell’s Steven Gmazel in just nine seconds, also had a seven-second pin earlier in the season.
Even in the loss, coach Leonard was thrilled with the effort his Cougars put forth.
“That’s the toughest we wrestled all year,” he said. “We really wrestled with a lot of energy and a lot of pride, that’s what we’ve been looking for.”
He was particularly proud of Reed’s performance on what happened to be a special night for the upperclassman.
“I’d be most impressed with (Brandon) tonight, he wrestled a tough kid and did well.” said Leonard of the lone senior on Bothell’s varsity team. “On Senior Night, it was his night.”
Corbett, who has been actively involved in coaching wrestling for about the last 25 years, made sure to commend the young coaches of the Bothell program for revamping the Cougar program that had been through lean times after winning the Kingco championships in 2001, 2003 and 2004.
“Those young new coaches that (Bothell) got this year really brought the program back,” Corbett said. “They’re doing a great job, and they can be proud they’re putting together a good team.”
According to Leonard, the resurgence has been all about improving work ethic and finding a will to win, which he said took time.
The first-year coach admitted that it “would have been ugly” if they had wrestled Inglemoor at the start of the year instead of late in January.
“This year we learned how to practice — they’ve had some problems with intensity, and finding that fire,” Leonard said. “We’ve really turned it on the last few weeks, and grown up as a team ... we’re a veteran team now. Going into the postseason, we’re peaking. I feel good.”
Likewise, Corbett feels good about his crew heading into this weekend’s Kingco championships at Juanita High.
“It will always take a lot luck, but at the same time we have to make our own luck,” said Corbett on what it will take for the Viks to make a run at the class 4A state tournament. “That’s where preparation meets opportunity, and we’re just going to keep working hard, go right into the tournament, and make it happen.”