Aberdeen won seven of 10 head-to-head matches to earn a 57-24 victory over Myrtle Street Rival Hoquiam in a dual meet on Friday at Hoquiam High School.
In its final dual meet before the Sub-Regional Tournament on Feb. 7-8, the Bobcats looked to be in prime form, winning seven of 10 matches against their crosstown rivals, six of those wins coming via pinfall.
“It was really important to come out here and end the year before subs (regional tournament) on a big note by smoking our rivals,” Aberdeen’s Drew Lock said after defeating Hoquiam’s Logan Avery via pinfall in a 120-pound match. “You’ve got to go 110% the whole time. Injuries are a factor, but if you really want it you have to wrestle through it.”
Lock, Jeremy Roberts (126), Patrick Hunt (152) Seth Brown (170), Liam Heikkila (195) and Jaden Hoseney (220) all earned fall victories for the Bobcats on Friday.
With strong performances this late in the season, Lock felt a bold prediction was in order.
“Everyone that pinned today is going to state,” he said. “Mark my words.”
Aberdeen’s Cameron Harris scored four points in the final period to edge Hoquiam’s Zachary Barnes 7-6 in a thrilling 145-pound match.
Hoquiam got three pinfall wins on the evening, including Xavier Garcia (132), Cosmo Palmgren (138) and state-hopeful Malaki Eaton (160).
Eaton impressed in his victory, winning via pinfall over Garrett Springer, himself a state-tournament hopeful.
Aberdeen won three matches via forfeit, while Hoquiam earned one forfeit victory.
“For it being the last dual of the season, I think we did well,” Roberts said of the Bobcats’ sixth consecutive dual win over the Grizzlies. “We controlled our momentum, stayed safe, kept our energy and fought really hard for the win.”
Aberdeen head coach Joe Marchie wanted to make sure his team was in the right frame of mind ahead of the match.
“I just tried to make sure they were prepared for this. I talked to them a lot about visualization and putting themselves in the moment whenever they can, mentally, and just getting used to that feeling of playing in a big match, over and over again,” he said. “The goal is to have them go out there and go all-out and, hopefully, they’re conditioned well enough to make sure that happens and they don’t gas out too hard. They did well tonight and we’re looking forward to getting into the postseason. … We have a lot of guys that do really well in tournaments, so it’s going to be exciting the next two weeks.”
But Marchie isn’t looking too far ahead to the state tournament just yet, as he knows his young yet talented group of Bobcats, which features just two seniors on the team, has a lot of work to do before they can punch a ticket to the finals.
“I try to take it one weekend at a time,” he said. “These kids got to make through districts and then regionals and it’s basically five matches you have to win from today to make it to state, so we have to take it one match at a time.
“But it’s really exciting for me to have a group of really young wrestlers, … the majority of our guys are coming back for the next two years. So the stage is set for something really, really special for Aberdeen wrestling over the next few years.”
And the coaching staff has made sure not to let success go to the heads of his young grapplers.
“Don’t get too cocky or too confident,” Roberts said about preparing for postseason tournaments. “It’s all about mindset. I work with my coaches, get my butt kicked a bit, keep my place and keep my cool through it all.”
While Marchie keeps his team focused on the task in front of them, Lock admitted that a trip to state as a team would represent something special.
“Last year I didn’t get to go, so I’d imagine a team thing at state would be really cool and more bonding time for all of us,” Lock said. “I told my parents to buy tickets in advance and I’m pretty sure they did.”