LYNDEN — In the last tournament of the regular season, the Lynden Lions looked strong on Saturday, Jan. 21, taking third at their own invitational with 121 points. With 15 schools in attendance, including Nooksack and Meridian, the Lions also had several individual performances of note.
Sophomore Pablo Martinez and senior Brody Weinheimer highlighted the day for Lynden. Martinez won at 120 pounds while Weinheimer took the title in the 195-pound bracket. In the championship round, the two wrestlers took the mat at the same time in front of their home crowd, leading to an exciting atmosphere when both were able to find victory.
“It’s been a pleasure working with Brody,” said Lynden head coach Frankie Gallegos. “He’s one of those guys that everybody naturally follows. He works his butt off in practice every day. Pablo too. They are two of the hardest workers in practice and push each other every day.”
Martinez also earned Most Outstanding Wrestler for the lower weight classes, voted on by coaches at the end of the tournament. It was the second win of the season for Martinez, who won at 120 pounds in the Graham Morin Invitational at Squalicum High School on Dec. 17. The sophomore also took second on Jan. 7 at the Panther Classic at Snohomish High School, at the Mount Baker Invite on Dec. 22 and at the Sedro-Woolley Invite on Dec. 10.
For Weinheimer, it was his second win of the season, as the senior also won at 220 pounds at the Panther Classic. Weinheimer took second at 220 pounds at the Sedro-Woolley Invite as well.
Lions who finished in a third-place tie on Saturday included senior Feliciano Paulino at 220 pounds, senior Alex Shook at 195, sophomore Payton Scott at 160, sophomore Adrian Velazquez at 138 and sophomore Levi Oostra at 132. Junior Cole Crass tied for fifth at 182 pounds.
“We wrestled extremely well today,” said Gallegos. “We won some key matches. It’s our last tournament, so for us to just come out and wrestle tough and take something home for it, it’s awesome. It’s a real spirit lifter for us.”
The Lions wrap up their regular season against Blaine at home tonight at 7 p.m.
Postseason action will kick off for class 2A when the sub-regionals take place on Friday to Saturday, Feb. 3-4, at Sedro-Woolley High School. Regionals are set for Feb. 11 at Blaine.
Meridian’s Cheney, Sabalza earn individual titles
The Trojans also had a nice showing on Saturday, sending three wrestlers to the final round and earning two first-place finishes. Meridian also took seventh place as a team with 79.5 points.
Junior Manny Sabalza won at 170 pounds while junior Jake Cheney took the title at 145. Cheney had to battle senior teammate Noah Richardson in the championship round, creating a match of familiar opponents.
“It’s kind of bittersweet when you have two guys (facing each other) in the finals,” said Meridian head coach Wade Brzozowski. “On one hand, you are guaranteed a champion, but on the other hand you will have one wrestler fall short. It is also a bit more relaxed and fun as coach since you’re happy with either outcome.”
Coach Brzozowski mentions that Sabalza had missed a few weeks with an illness earlier in the season, so he was happy to see the junior come out and have a nice performance.
Sophomore Brayden Zender earned a third-place tie for Meridian at 132 pounds. Junior Martin Pfannenstiel at 113 pounds and senior Oscar Madrigal, at 195, earned fifth-place ties.
“Overall, I was very pleased with how we wrestled as a team,” said Brzozowski. “We ended up in seventh place, which I think is a huge accomplishment for us and a team our size. I have seen a lot of improvement out of our guys in the last few weeks. I’m really excited for the postseason to see how they continue to progress.”
Meridian will conclude the regular season with a set of matches at home tonight against Squalicum, Sehome and Bellingham, starting at 4:30 p.m.
Postseason wrestling for class 1A will kick off on Feb. 4 when the 1A sub-regional takes place at Mount Baker High School.
Nooksack Valley’s Mergel, Winter, Blankers take second
For the Pioneers, three wrestlers reached the final round of the tournament as Nooksack finished ninth as a team with 68 points.
Senior Tyson Mergel was second at 285 pounds, junior Luke Winter was runner-up at 220 and junior Brennan Blankers came up just short of the championship at 132.
The other top finisher for the Pioneers was senior Valentin Villalobos, who ended up in a third-place tie at 126 pounds.
Nooksack will wrap its regular season with a match at Mount Baker tonight at 7 p.m. The Pioneers will then host Friday Harbor and Concrete on Saturday at noon.
PUYALLUP — The Lions took part in the Viking Girls Invitational on Saturday, hosted by Puyallup High School. Thirty schools were in attendance for the meet and Lynden managed to take 15th as a team.
Individual placers for the Lions included freshman Janet Baldovinos in second at 115 pounds. Coach Santos Gallegos notes that Baldovinos is the first freshman to reach the finals in a competition for the Lions this season.
Sophomore Jennifer Lopez took fifth at 125 pounds while sophomore Brandy Vis took fifth at 190.
Next up for Lynden is a match against Squalicum tonight at home at 7 p.m. The Lions will then conclude the regular season on Saturday at the Lady Wolfpack Invite at Jackson (Mill Creek) High School starting at 9:30 a.m.
Sub-regionals for girls wrestling is on Feb. 3-4 at Burlington-Edison High School.
Mount Baker girls
LAKEWOOD — The Mountaineers took to Lakes High School for their second-to-last regular season tournament. With the postseason just a couple of weeks away, Baker managed to finish third out of 35 teams at the Lady Lipstick Tournament.
The Mounties also ended up with three individual champions at the meet. Freshman Alyssa Lenssen won at 100 pounds, senior Korbyn Cadle took the title at 125 and junior Emma Bruntil was victorious at 135.
Junior Gabrielle Mata took second at 110 pounds while junior Michelle Mata managed second at 115. Junior Teagan Manzo rounded out Baker’s placers, taking third at 115.
Mount Baker will wrestle at Nooksack Valley tonight at 7 p.m. and then head to the Lady Wolfpack Invite on Saturday,
Mount Baker boys
KALAMA — The Mounties were in action for their final regular-season tournament on Saturday, earning 11th place in the 16-team Kalama Invitational.
Top placers for Baker included senior Braxton Shannon in third at 220 pounds, sophomore Braeden Shannon in fifth at 220, junior Ethan Valum in fifth at 285 and senior Jesus Torrero in fifth at 138.
Next up for the Mountaineers is a match ending the regular season against Nooksack Valley tonight at home at 7 p.m. Mount Baker will also host the first round of the postseason on Feb. 4, when the 1A sub-regionals kick off at 10 a.m.