Peninsula beats GH in wrestling rivaly match
Peninsula won an intense wrestling rivalry match — known as the Shark Tank Dual — over Gig Harbor, 48-21, on Wednesday, Jan. 26 in Purdy.
As the lineups were announced it became apparent that the Tides were at a distinct disadvantage. Gig Harbor couldn’t field qualifying wrestlers in five middle and heavy weight classes.
But the Tides have excellent wrestlers in the lower weight divisions — they call it the “lightweight wall” — and claimed a commanding lead early.
GH early lead
The first match of the night, at 113 pounds, was a barn-burner between two wrestlers who have been thrashing South Sound Conference opponents. Gig Harbor’s Jonah Edmund held off Peninsula’s Justin Phipps, who finished sixth at state last year, for a 6-4 win.
Jonah’s brother Isaac Edmund wasn’t so fortunate against Peninsula’s Isaiah Clark at 120 pounds. Clark scored a pin with just six seconds remaining in the match.
Gig Harbor’s Riley Hester pinned Peninsula’s Campbell Stegeman at 126 pounds. Stegeman looks to be a possible participant in the girls division at Mat Classic.
In a much-anticipated 132-pound match, Gig Harbor sophomore Liam McDermott faced Peninsula’s Aiden Eversull, who was coming off a title at a Jan. 12 tournament in Kelso.
McDermott bulldogged Eversall to the ground for a 2-0 lead, then added an escape in the third period for a 3-0 lead that he wouldn’t relinquish.
Westcott edges Miller
Peninsula’s Cameron Miller and Gig Harbor’s Ian Westcott staged a back-and-forth match at 138 pounds, with Westcott hanging on for an 8-6 win.
“He’s a very talented athlete, he’s very fast and strong,” Westcott, a senior, said of Miller. “I just had to be smart, watch the score and not do anything hasty that would gas myself out.”
Wescott is 17-9 on the season with nine pins and said of the intense match. His goal, like most wrestlers, is to qualify for Mat Classic.
“I’ve climbed up the ladder, obviously I’m not going to stop,” he said of his four years of improvement as a wrestler. “Wherever I land I’m happy, but I know I’m getting to state.”
Gig Harbor led the dual meet 21-6 after Westcott’s win, but the next three matches turned the tide for Peninsula.
Nehemiah Randall and Marcus Reed won by pin for Peninsula to pull the Seahawks back within 21-18. Then Peninsula’s Emmett Casey, wrestling at 160 pounds, won by injury default after Gig Harbor’s Keola Taylor, in a scary moment, suffered an apparent knee injury and was unable to continue.
The Seahawks benefitted from forfeits in the rest of the remaining matches to score a 48-21 victory. The final score felt odd as the Tides and Seahawks were knotted in a thrilling contest, with each team winning four matches.
Gig Harbor was missing a top wrestler in senior Jacob Wilsie, who was 10-3 and earned an alternate spot at Mat Classic in 2022. Wilsie tore his ACL and MCL earlier this year, but not before securing a wrestling scholarship from Simpson University in Redding, Calif.
“We tried to recruit some of the bigger guys but they just wouldn’t stick around,” Wilsie said of his team’s shortage of participants. “Wrestling is the toughest sport both physically and mentally. You have to battle, cut weight and be strong to go in their day in and day out.”
With the win, Peninsula remained in second in the SSC at 5-1, just behind 6-0 Yelm. The Tides fall to fourth at 3-2.