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By David Pan 

Kamiak edges Cascade in Wesco thriller | Boys wrestling

Mariner gaining valuable experience for 1st-time grapplers


Last updated 6/9/2021 at 3:34pm

David Pan

Kamiak's Sam Serati closes in on a pin of Cascade's Nam Ngo in a 145-pound bout Wednesday, May 26, at Cascade High School.

The scorekeepers at the Kamiak/Cascade wrestling match definitely had to sharpen their pencils.

After the whistle was blown in the final match, the two teams were tied at 42 in the Wednesday, May 19, clash staged outside on the Cascade football practice field.

That's when the fun began.

Several minutes passed before the Knights were declared the victor 43-42, based on the sixth tiebreaker. The criteria are based on forfeits.

In this case the numbers favored Kamiak.

"We put more athletes on the mat," new Kamiak head coach Tyler Webley said.

Webley, who previously was an assistant coach, said that he and his coaching staff achieved their goals in what has been a most unusual season due to the pandemic.

Wednesday's victory meant the Knights went 2-1 in dual meets. Webley decided he wanted two weeks of competitions and the rest of the time focused on getting better at practices. He noted the shortened regular season meant that there were no postseason tournaments.

Wrestling also has some of the strictest COVID-19 guidelines, and Webley was concerned about keeping his squad healthy throughout the shortened five-week season, and not doing anything to potentially jeopardize the graduation ceremony for the senior class.

"We were able to wrestle the whole time and socialize," he said.

Kamiak finished with a roster of 25 wrestlers, which was lower than in past years. But considering the pandemic, the late start to the season, and some choosing to compete in lacrosse, Webley was fine with the turnout.

"I'll take it," he said.

The Knights have some solid wrestlers coming back, including Sam Serati, who pinned Nam Ngo at 145.

"He put his best campaign together," Webley said.

Kamiak's Jaden Beins (152) and Elliot Szoke (16) also recorded pins.

Though they both lost their matches, Mark Holcomb (220) and Kevin Cantini (120) both have shown promise this season, and Webley expects both to be strong next year.

Webley appreciated the efforts of all the wrestlers.

"They were a strong, dedicated group," he said.

The same can be said of a young Mariner squad that did not have a single returner from last year. Most of the 12 underclassmen also were first-year wrestlers. Two freshmen do have some middle school experience.

While the Marauders (0-6) often found themselves outmatched on the mat due to their inexperience, they are still having fun.

"We like to keep the kids interested and wanting to come back next year," Mariner coach Joe Barrington said. "It's really good energy in the room right now, so I think that's going to be the case. ... The kids are genuinely interested in wanting to learn."

Eric Bang (152) recorded Mariner's lone victory, a pin, against Cedarcrest Friday, May 28, at Mariner High School.

Barrington said that he expects the Marauders will benefit from the experience of going against as many different teams this season.

David Pan

"You are definitely more versed in a lot more skill levels and different atmospheres," he said.

Barrington and his staff encouraged members of the football team to come out for wrestling. The first day of practice there were eight in the room. The highest during the season was about 15. Not being in the building is a challenge for Barrington. He said he's thinking about ways to engage the student body, such as being around at lunches to promote the sport.

"The most beneficial thing for us is just to focus on trying to get the word out," Barrington said.

He's also hoping kids will take part in some camps this summer.

"We're trying to get the kids more teammates, more practice partners," Barrington said. "The more partners you have, the more fun it is."


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