Sports Beat: Four Gig Harbor wrestlers stand out in loss to North Thurston
The Gig Harbor Tides wrestling team dropped a 54-22 decision to North Thurston on Thursday, Jan. 18. The score wasn’t really indicative of a contest that saw the Tides dominate four matches and lose four matches, but forfeit the rest of the contests because they don’t have enough wrestlers in the middle and heavier weight divisions.
The result for the Tides is another team loss and that is frustrating for coach Blake Moser and the the Tides squad. But wrestling is both a team and an individual sport and four Tides stood out versus the Rams and appear to be on the path to the state championships on Feb. 15 and 16 at the Tacoma Dome.
The only female on the Tides team is 100-pound brawler Eleanor Nimrick, who took her North Thurston opponent to the mat in seconds and pinned her immediately. Nimrick has been doing that all season and has an 29-3 record to show for it.
She just won the prestigious Kelso Braided championship that is the biggest tournament of the year, besides the state tourney. Nimerick won six matches in a row to be the first girl from Gig Harbor to win the tournament.
She has already avenged one of her three loses on the season, pinning a girl who beat her earlier.
“My goal this year at state is to win the tournament,” she said. “I’ve already wrestled two of the top Peninsula girls multiple times this season in Olivia Griffen and Georgina Johnson and I’ve pinned them both.”
Another standout for the Tides is Jack Greer, a 106-pound freshman. On Thursday, he quickly fell behind 5-1 against an older North Thurston opponent with an impressive record. Greer battled all the way back and took a 7-5 lead in the second period.
His strength was evident but it was his stamina that stood out as he pinned his worn-out opponent late in the second period.
Liam McDermott moved his record to 23-6 in the 138-pound weight division. He manhandled his Ram opponent with not only strength and technique but by using his mind, as wrestling is really a sophisticated game of chess.
You make a move and your opponent counters until one gains an advantage. That’s what McDermott does — he keeps maneuvering until he has the advantage and his opponent is out of moves. McDermott, sporting a black eye and scrapes on his nose and forehead from earlier matches, came away with a 9-3 win.
“Celebrating the wins and learning from the losses continues to push me to get better,” he said. “I hope to place in the 3A 132-pound bracket. Every day I’m just focused on improving my technique and my mindset.”
The next of the four horseman for the Tides is Jonah Edmund, who is 16-5 and nearly placed at state last year. He wrestles at 126 pounds and had a clear technique advantage over his Ram opponent, earning a pin late in the second period.
“Overall, my strength and conditioning has put me in the best shape that I’ve ever been,” Edmund said. “I’ve really locked down on my technique and speed, and I think my biggest strength is my adaptability and my ability to improvise.”
Tides rally behind Masini’s record-breaking effort
The Gig Harbor Tides (16-2) boys basketball team continues to pile up victories, rallying to beat Bothell, 61-56, on Jan. 15 and downing River Ridge, 66-49, on Jan. 17.
Michael Masini, a 6-foot-8 forward, yanked down 23 rebounds and guard Cole Browne scored a series of clutch baskets in the final 3:30 to erase a nine-point deficit and stun Class 4A Bothell.
Masini earned a spot on the record board that hangs on the wall inside the Gig Harbor gymnasium. He broke the school record that was previously shared by Mathias Ward and Michael Toglia, who each had 21 rebounds.
The springy sophomore is a definite threat to break his own record in the future.
“Michael is a tremendous athlete, who strives for perfection each day,” Gig Harbor coach Billy Landram said. “His work ethic and drive make him a formidable force, tonight he was unstoppable.”
Playing without injured center Luke Allison, Tides were nearly down by double digits versus the hot-shooting visitors. Then the trio of Browne, Masini and senior Drake Matthies scored every point in the fourth quarter.
Down 43-34 with seven minutes to go, Matthies scored six straight points, the first off of a nifty reverse layup. Masini’s foul line jumper brought the the Tides within 45-43, but Bothell busted a deep three to extend the score to 48-43 with 3:28 to go. Browne then exploded for 10 points in the final three and a half minutes, including a deep three from the wing that brought the Tides within two at 48-46.
Masini’s inside layup tied the game at 48 and after senior Logan Parrish’s third steal of the quarter Browne split two defenders for a cork-screwing layup and a 50-48 lead.
Bothell tied the score at 50 before Masini hit one free throw and Matthies got an offensive rebound. Masini scored on a tough left hander off the glass after a Tides time-out to put his team up 53-50 with a little over a minute to go.
Browne overplayed a passing lane and stole the ball on Bothell’s next possession. As two defenders raced to the basket, Browne’s difficult reverse lay-in had just enough spin on it to drop to make the score 55-50. The trio each hit their free throw attempts down the stretch to preserve a 61-56 win.
Matthies had his best game of the season in the win over River Ridge with 19 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. The Hawks used a full court press, which allowed Matthies to attack the cup from his wing position.
Allison returned to the lineup versus River Ridge and he joined with Mathias and Masini to control the rebounding. Browne had 10 points and 10 assists.
Other basketball games
The Peninsula Seahawks boys team slipped to 2-7 in South Sound Conference play after a tough offensive night at Capital. Peninsula lost to the Cougars, 43-30, on Jan. 17.
Both girls basketball teams won easy conference games on Jan. 17 — Peninsula defeated Capital, 46-24, and Gig Harbor routed River Ridge, 60-22.
Tides claim another swimming title
The South Sound Conference boys swimming championships were decided Jan. 18, when Gig Harbor knocked off a previously undefeated Peninsula team, 105-81.
Peninsula’s 200-meter medley relay team of Jonah Bergerson, Ethan Berard, Tyler Givot and Aidan Miller kicked off the meet by winning their event in 1:53.49, 14 seconds faster than the Tides’ second-place team.
Gig Harbor’s Travis Scott followed by winning the 200-meter freestyle in 2:02.92, which was ahead of teammate Jackson Davis in 2:14.87. Scott doesn’t glide through the water like a dolphin but instead uses his long frame, whirling arms and aggressive kick to churn through the water like a raging bull. The results are what counts, as his time was an easy district qualifier.
Grant Huston of Gig Harbor won the 200 intermediate medley by 23 seconds over Peninsula’s Ethan Berard. Then, in one of the closest races of the day, Peninsula’s Bergerson (25.54) barely out-touched Gig Harbor’s Emmett Scott (25:55) to win the 50-meter freestyle.
In the diving event, Wriley Savage of Gig Harbor defeated teammate James Ferrier 197.80 to 189.40. Zachary Ruckle of Peninsula finished third with 146.20 points.
Peninsula’s Berard won the 100-meter fly in 1:02.75, defeating second-place Tide finisher Jace Garre (1:07.78).
Emmett Scott won the 100-meter freestyle with a 55.16 to Bassler’s 1:04.40 before Travis Scott obliterated the 400 meter freestyle race. Travis Scott’s time of 4:30.95 left him at the finish with time to have a sandwich before his teammate Jackson Davis arrived 37 seconds later.
The ninth event, the 200 freestyle relay, was a barn-burner as three relay teams each swam for one minute and 49 seconds. The Seahawks team of Henry Moore, Ryan Anderson, Aidan Miller and Bassler came to the wall in 1:49.42; two other Tide teams finished .09 and .23 seconds slower for second and third place in a thrilling finish.
In the 100-meter backstroke, Peninsula’s Bergerson glided through the water efficiently in a state-qualifying time of 1:01.02, which was 10 seconds faster than the Tides’ Jace Garre.
At this point it was either team’s meet with only two events to go and the 100-meter breaststroke approaching. Bergerson’s win left the Seahawks within range of Gig Harbor if they could just win the last two events.
Gig Harbor coach Mike Kelly’s teams have won eight of the nine previous SSC championships and the veteran coach looked as cool as the other side of the pillow with his senior Huston entering the water. Huston and the Seahawks’ Aidan Miller went back and forth before Huston pulled away late to win in 1:10.25 to Miller’s 1:13.42.
In the final event, the 400-meter freestyle relay, the Gig Harbor team of the Scott brothers, Huston and Alexander Ronald finished in a blistering time of 3:52.12 to the Seahawks time of 4:08.72. That race completed the meet as the Tides won by 24 points and jumped into the pool to celebrate their SSC championship.
“Going into the meet with both teams undefeated and each finishing first and second after the Swimvitational meet,” Kelly said, “I knew that there was going to be some fun, exciting races at our dual meet, and that certainly was the case.”