Mustangs wrestle strong

At the West Sound Middle School League Wrestling Tournament on Saturday, McMurray wrestlers won one first place, four second places and one third place. The Mustang team took fourth place overall.

Joey Di Fabio was crowned the 225-pound champion. For the title, Di Fabio faced a Kingston opponent who had pinned him earlier in the season. The match started with the Kingston wrestler trying to tie up with Di Fabio, the same strategy he had used in their first meeting. But during the second period, Di Fabio seized the advantage and applied a half-nelson for the pin.

Di Fabio’s effort was just one example of the skills McMurray wrestlers have built through the season.

For example, Wolfgang Melrose won second place at 180 pounds because of a “well-executed game plan and improved technique,” said McMurray head coach Corey McIntyre. After pinning his first opponent, Melrose faced a Mountain View wrestler who previously had beaten him. This time, Melrose “controlled most of the match and kept the pressure on” for a 6-4 decision, said McIntyre. In the title match, Melrose lost 4-0 to a Kingston grappler.

Ryan O’Grady’s mastery of chain wrestling earned him a second-place finish at 125 pounds. O’Grady started with an easy pin in his first match. In his second match O’Grady was down 8-5 to a Klahowya wrestler. In the middle of a reversal, O’Grady sensed his opponent’s vulnerability and put the Klahowya grappler on his back for a nearfall to win 10-8. In the final, O’Grady lost to a Mountain View cradling specialist.

McIntyre praised Preston Morris for his textbook wrestling technique in his 164-pound bouts. Morris got a pin in his first match. In the second, Morris dominated his opponent 8-0. In the final, Morris was leading when his speedy Hawkins opponent got a pin.

Mustang 90-pounder “Ryan Lenea is a super-fit super-wrestler,” said McIntyre. Lenea secured second place after a first round bye, and a dominating 9-0 outing against his Mountain View opponent.

Zhenya Fiala pinned his first opponent and then found himself pitted against a Hawkins wrestler whom he previously had beaten. Fiala was leading in the third period when his opponent got a pin. Fiala never lost heart and won two more matches to earn third place at 120 pounds.

The McMurray team also boasted a group of sixth graders “who pushed the pace at all-team workouts,” said McIntyre. Finishing first in the sixth-grade tourney were Chase Wickman, Chester Pruett, Clyde Pruett and Sean Delargy; finishing second were Sam Yates, Logan Nelson and Todd Gateman; finishing third was Jack Shira.

Vashon High School head wrestling coach Anders Blomgren concurred.

“This is the best Mc-

Murray team that I’ve been involved with,” he said.

The McMurray wrestling program serves as the vital link between Rockbuster junior wrestling and the high school team.

“The group of eighth-graders coming up is very talented, and they will improve faster than most wrestlers,” Blomgren said. “We look forward to many of them contributing next year on the high school team.”

— Marian Easton is the mother of two Vashon wrestlers.

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