Valley duel puts Red Wolves on top

On their way to the KingCo 3A duel-meet championship the Cedarcrest Red Wolves had to get by someone they had never beaten: Mount Si. And what started as a see-saw battle of pin swapping turned into a sound victory for the Red Wolves, 45-27.

"The meet came down to four key matches, and if we had won a couple more we were in the hunt," said Mount Si coach Bruce Caldwell. He was referring to the 135-, 160-, 171- and 275-pound matches. The 'Cats only victory in those four came from Nick Martindale with a pin at 135.

The meet started at the 189-pound class where the Wildcats' Trevor Moore faced the Red Wolves' Robby Westermann. Moore, who has turned a few heads with his own aggressiveness on the mat, found himself in the battle of his life as Westermann immediately gained the advantage. With less than a minute in the round, Moore had been taken to the mat and with 27 seconds left, Westermann recorded the pin.

A true test of strength and endurance was shown in the 215-pound match between the Wildcats' Dylan Seubert and the Red Wolves' Cole Birk. Birk, who appeared to have added significant strength since last season, was a formidable opponent for the Mount Si senior. The first round was a grab fest as each wrestler jockeyed for position. Late in the round, Seubert scored a takedown. In the second, with Birk starting from the down position, Seubert moved the Red Wolf to his back. With 1:27 left in the second, he recorded the pin. The pin evened the meet score at 6-6.

Cory Anderson looked mentally prepared for his match at 275 pounds. His opponent was the Red Wolves' Vong Ly. With no score after the first round, Anderson chose the down position. He escaped quickly but then was called for stalling. The round ended with Anderson leading 3-2. The third would belong to Ly, who escaped from the down position and then took Anderson to the mat for the pin with 35 seconds left in the match.

The 103-pound class pitted a slow, methodical Jason Rothgeb against the Red Wolves' Steve Gunderson. It only took Rothgeb a minute and a half to gain the advantage, then pin Gunderson to the mat. At 112 pounds, the Wildcats' Alex Haas was pulled and Jordan Prior put in his place to take the forfeit from the Red Wolves.

With Prior taking the forfeit at 112 pounds, the Wildcat's Alex Haas stepped up to take on defending state champion Aaron Pedeferri. With a fast and furious flurry of moves, the young Mount Si wrestler found himself on his back and pinned with 1:08 left in the first round. Pedeferri showed his ability to completely control an opponent and is likely a repeat as state champion at 119 pounds.

Cedarcrest recorded pins at both 125 and 130 pounds. Kurtis Lett pinned the Wildcats' Jae Mandanas at 125 pounds and Darren DeBoer pinned Mount Si's Josh Magnussen at 130 pounds.

The Wildcats rebounded at 135 pounds as Nick Martindale defeated the Red Wolves' Tate Brammer. Martindale controlled the match from the start, pinning Brammer in the second round with only seconds left on the clock. The pin pulled the Wildcat's within striking distance, 30-24.

At 140 pounds, Brad Trombley faced Cedarcrest's Cody Hudson, a freshman. Hudson was powerful from the start, but the tall Trombley was tough to control. Hudson scored a takedown in the first round. In the second, starting from the down position, he scored a reversal and three-point near fall for a 7-0 lead. Finally, in the third, with 35 seconds left on the clock, he pushed Trombley's shoulders to the mat for the pin.

Mount Si co-captain Eddie Roberts came on in a big way to bolster his team's score. Roberts, wrestling Andrew Claussen in the 145-pound class, had a fight on his hands. Neither wrestler scored in the first. The only point scored in the second was a technical by Roberts on an illegal hold by Claussen. As the clock ticked down the last few seconds of the match, Roberts pulled a reversal, scoring two more for a 3-0 win.

Kyle Jacobsen faced the Red Wolves' Tony Stedman in the 152-pound class. Stedman, a veteran varsity wrestler, proved a far tougher foe than first thought as he scored a 3-1 win over Jacobsen. The win gave the Red Wolves a commanding 39-27 win. To tie, the 'Cats would need two pins.

In a battle of sheer brute strength versus a veteran wrestler, the Wildcats' Tyler Austin faced Cedarcrest's Alan Shultz in the 160-pound class. The question on everyone's mind was whether Austin could control Shultz long enough to get him turned for the pin. The answer came quickly as Shultz scored the first takedown midway through the first round. They would be the only points of the match as Austin never found the combination necessary to control Shultz. As the seconds ticked away the Cedarcrest crowd grew louder, realizing the Red Wolves had defeated their Upper Valley rivals.

The final match of the night pitted Nick Ippolito against the Red Wolves' Adam Speir. With the meet safely under their belts, Speir was wrestling purely for honor. And wrestle he did, eventually winning the decision 11-4.

Grinning from ear to ear following the meet was Cedarcrest coach Jeff Newcomer, formerly a Mount Si assistant coach.

"I saw it happening similar to the way it was," he said. "I knew Robby [Westermann] was going to come out and make a statement.

"I talked with Vong [Ly] for quite a while to get him psyched at 275. I knew he could beat that guy" Newcomer continued. "Vong weighed in at 205, and the other guy at 271, so that was a big match, a huge match."

Caldwell complimented the opposing team's effort.

"It was a good win for Cedarcrest," he said.

The two teams go into their final week of the season. The Red Wolves face Bellevue and Liberty this week, and Mount Si faces Mercer Island and Skyline. The junior-varsity qualifier starts this weekend.

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