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WRESTLING | Wolves capture four medals at Mat Classic XXVI
TACOMA — Mat Classic XXVI was anything but a microcosm of the season for South Kitsap’s Amberlee Brasch.
After not wrestling in an overtime all season, she won a pair of extended matches before earning a 10-2 decision Saturday against Sedro Woolley’s Taylor Dawson to claim third place in the 137-pound division of the girls bracket.
“It’s tough,” said Brasch, who went into three overtimes to defeat Liberty’s Joanna Moreira in her match before facing Dawson. “I’m catching my breath.”
It was a long tournament for Brasch, who needed four overtimes to survive her first consolation match Friday against Kent-Meridian’s Bonshee Freeman. But Brasch was determined to avoid a similar scenario to last year. After becoming the first female to place in program history when she finished fifth at 137 in 2012, Brasch was eliminated by teammate Caleenda Johnson at 130 last season.
She was determined to avoid a repeat scenario.
Dawson also was coming off a match where she needed overtime to win. And Brasch defeated her 6-3 in the first round at state. Brasch, who plans to wrestle next season at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, said her familiarity with Dawson was beneficial in the final match. They wrestled against each other four times this season with Brasch winning three of them.
“Amberlee really gutted it out,” South coach Chad Nass said. “She had a tremendous day. It was a great way to finish for her and I’m really proud.”
Brasch was among four Wolves who placed at state. Seniors Adam Lutovsky (145) and Tristan Hartmann (195) finished fifth, while sophomore Brandon Forster (126) was eighth.
Lutovsky was South’s only competitor who entered Saturday with an opportunity to win a state title. But he lost a 16-7 decision against Central Valley’s Colton Orrino — the defending state champion at 132 — and then was pinned in 1:26 by Tahoma’s Justin Weiding in the consolation semifinals. Nass believes the latter result was a byproduct of Lutovsky’s disappointment from his first loss. Lutovsky recovered to win his final match, 8-4, against Kentwood’s Dalton Meyers. He also defeated Meyers 8-5 during Friday’s quarterfinals.
“He came back like a true warrior and won his last one,” Nass said. “It was the right way to finish it off.”
Hartmann did not have Brasch’s volume of overtime matches, but was involved in several close decisions. After suffering an 8-7 setback in the consolation semifinals against Union’s Cody Gromes, he defeated Auburn’s Sam Lindsey 4-2 in overtime in his final match.
“It’s not what I wanted,” said Hartmann, who missed the 2012-13 season after undergoing reconstructive surgery on his right knee from an injury suffered playing football. “But I’m happy I got as far as I did considering I didn’t wrestle last year.”
Forster is the Wolves’ lone medalist who will return next season. Nass noted that he can become only the program’s second wrestler to place three times at state. Brent Chriswell, who had a 106-4 record and won two state championships at South before he graduated in 2006, is the school’s only wrestler with that distinction.
“I know he’s a little disappointed, but he’s got two more cracks at it,” Nass said. “To walk out of here with a medal as a sophomore is pretty impressive. He could join some other pretty elite company.”
Two other wrestlers, seniors Joel Sherman (126) and Joseph Barnum (152), also competed at state but were eliminated Friday.
“Joel’s got torn meniscus in his [right] knee,” Nass said. “I’m so proud of him. A lot of kids would’ve packed it up for the season. He wrestled for the team. He’s barely been able to practice the last month of the season.”