The Lincoln wrestlers are kings of Tacoma once again. For the second straight year, the Abes sent 12 wrestlers to the finals, and claimed seven individual championships to edge Bellarmine Prep for the city title at the Tacoma City Championships on Jan. 24 at Bellarmine Prep.
“It’s incredible for us as a team,” said Lincoln senior 220-pounder Aliyas Fletcher. “We’ve been winning a lot of tournaments, we’ve been getting a lot of success. But now we’re able to say we’re the best in the city…and that’s something we should be proud of.”
Fletcher avenged a loss to Bellarmine Prep’s Elliot Villars two weeks ago in a dual meet, getting a takedown midway through the third round on the way to a 3-2 decision.
Lincoln senior teammate Keidrick O’Bannon, who returned to action just two weeks ago after having surgery for a hernia, earned the 170-pound title over Wilson’s Ricky Siller with a pin with 30 seconds left to go in the match.
“I was just going with the pace a little bit,” said O’Bannon, who is setting his sights toward the Mat Classic for the second straight year. “I could have picked it up a little bit more.”
Highly-rated 195-pounder Jeremy Lukosh earned an injury default victory for Lincoln, and Chris Jackson started the Abes’ quest with a three-overtime victory over teammate Jordan McKinney at 113 pounds. Abes sophomore Robert Mathews dominated the third round to win 10-4 over Foss’ Joey Wurtz at 132 pounds, and junior 138-pounder Loren Carrillo got a late near fall to outlast Foss’ Hung Mai 15-14 in one of the more entertaining matches of the day. Lincoln freshman William Willsey closed the day with a 12-8 win over Wilson’s Tyler Ferris to claim the title at 285 pounds.
But Bellarmine Prep held close with Lincoln the entire day, as the Lions took second by finishing with 246 team points to the Abes’ 266.5. Senior Hunter Taylor earned arguably the most emotional victory of the day, topping highly-ranked Lincoln 182-pounder B.J. Hawthorne 13-10 after getting a reversal and near fall early in the third round.
“I just knew to take him three rounds, and he’ll be (tired) by the end of the second,” said Taylor, who had fallen twice to Hawthorne in the previous two weeks. “I knew for city’s I had to beat him.”
Lions junior Andrew Turner dominated on the way to a 13-2 victory over Lincoln’s Tommy You at 120 pounds, and sophomore Josiah Mayo followed by pinning the Abes’ Solomon Sok late in the first round at 126 pounds. Sophomore Jed Klein looked to be pinned in the final seconds against Stadium freshman Trey Caldwell at 106 pounds, but pulled a late reversal to earn a 5-2 victory. Lions junior 160-pounder Carson Grissafi went up 13-4 on Foss’ Clayton Nichols before getting a pin with two seconds remaining in the match, and senior Aidan Moore used a late takedown to seal a 10-5 victory over Foss senior Nick Burton at 152 pounds.
“I knew with a little bit of time left, the one second he’s out of position I’ve got to jump on it,” Moore said. “(It’s a) small window of opportunity, and at this level you’ve got to take those opportunities.”
Junior 145-pounder Malcom Martin helped Wilson tally 167 points as a team to take third place, as he cruised to a 15-2 lead over Lincoln’s Leonel Acosta in the finals before getting a pin with 46 seconds remaining.
“It means a lot for me,” said Martin, who was injured all of last year. “This is me trying to reclaim (last) season and do the best I can.”
Led by its four appearances in the finals, Foss put up 129.5 points to place fourth, while Mount Tahoma took fifth with 73 points and Stadium finished sixth with 41.5 points.
The squads now set their sights on the Narrows League Championships, which begins on Feb. 7 at 5 p.m. and continues on Feb. 8 at 9 a.m. at Foss High School.