Isaac Ortega wrapped his arms around Arlington’s Dimitri Shaffer and drove him to the ground for two points en route to a 12-2 win.
A few minutes later, the senior wrestler wrapped his arms around the Battle of the Bull trophy after Stanwood’s 38-14 victory.
“It meant a lot,” he said of retaining the rivalry trophy. “I let everyone know this week that we can’t lose the horns.”
Without district titles or postseason berths up for grabs this season due to the pandemic, the trophy became a rare piece of extra motivation.
“This whole year has just been about having fun, but we worked a little harder this week with something on the line,” Ortega said. “I know that I wanted to show everyone that I'm the same wrestler. I’m not going to let something like COVID get in the way of me being successful in the sport.”
Head coach Ray Mather said they’re grateful for a season and a chance to stay sharp.
Stanwood also earned hard-fought victories from Tyler Rhue, Lane Ovenell, Keaton Mayernik, Preston Ing, Ryder Bumgarner and Mason Ferguson.
Mather said the match against Arlington always cranks up the energy level, which might have contributed to the Spartans veering a bit from their game plan.
“I thought we were actually a little flat, maybe amped up a little too much,” Mather said. “We wrestled a lot of their style. We didn't wrestle much of our style. We have to know our plan and execute it no matter what they do, but they slowed us down.”
However, the group is focused on growth, he said.
“All the kids are helping in the practice room,” Mather said. “It’s like there are lots of little mini-coaches in there.”
The Spartans traveled to Monroe on Friday, after the early newspaper press deadlines for the Memorial Day holiday. See next week’s edition for results.
Meanwhile, the Spartans look to keep improving on a talented young core.
Many of the Spartans faced tough, state-caliber opponents and gutted out victories, and then returned to the practice room the next day to hone their skills, Mather said.
“I feel like we’re out of a rebuilding period and now in a dominance period,” Ortega said.
Next, Stanwood hosts Glacier Peak High on Tuesday and Jackson High on Thursday.
Three matches in four days didn’t seem to slow down the Spartans last week.
Stanwood was led by seniors Jaylan Hass and Aleena Wiegand, who each went 4-0 during the stretch. Every other of the nine Spartans collected at least one win, including Gillian O’Neal and Katana Karasti recording their first varsity win and pin.
“We have always set our goal to be the most improved team from start of year to the finish. So far, we have always accomplished that, I believe,” head coach Todd Freeman said.
He said that in addition to piling up victories, Hass and Wiegand “have taken this really young team and brought them confidence and a hard work ethic.”
Stanwood hosts a seven-team scramble at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Stanwood Middle School in their lone home event.
Three Spartans recorded hat tricks to lift Stanwood over Monroe 13-9 on May 24.
On offense, Stanwood found success by patiently moving the ball around, while running set plays and probing the Bearcat defenses until they found a window for a shot.
“When we set the tone by controlling the ball, we can make good decisions and everything flows,” head coach Alex Abdallah said. “And we have a bunch of smart players on the team.”
Ashton Greenleaf, Jack Laures and Huston Rawls each collected three goals. Kanyan Rhodes added two scores, Aiden Gervasi had one and Luke Grotle got a goal.
Laures, who has nine goals in the past three games, chose his shots wisely, Abdallah said.
“He’s not the fastest player, but he’s so incredibly smart when it comes to ball movement,” he said. “He can bait a defender and has incredible accuracy on his shots. He’s hitting the corners of the goal. And teams keep underestimating Jack.”
In goal, Hunter Macomber saved 16 of Monroe’s 25 shots.
“Hunter is a door-stopper, for sure,” Abdallah said.
The Spartans wrap up their regular-season slate by hosting Glacier Peak on Wednesday and traveling to Snohomish on Friday. Abdallah said the Wesco league may offer postseason play.
The Spartans, who were off last week, host Snohomish on June 3 at Stanwood Middle School.
For the second week in a row, the Spartans posted 37 best times in Thursday’s 117.5-46.5 victory over Monroe.
Aidan Link swam faster in each of his four events, including dropping 3 seconds in the 100-yard butterfly and 4 seconds in the 100-yard freestyle.
“He is just looking so strong,” head coach Connie Schmidt said. “And watching him swim, you can see his determination in the water.”
Several other Spartans had some impressive improvements in their events, including Isaac Smith, who took 9 seconds off his 200-yard individual medley time, and Hunter Jones, who dropped 5 seconds off his 200-yard freestyle time.
Aiden Hagglund, Taylor Kenoyer and Larson Haugstad each posted three best times.
The Spartans will face Jackson High on Thursday and wrap up their season with a time trial event on June 10.
- Stanwood placers: 200 medley relay: Chance Haugstad, Bryce Barr, Clayton Peterson, Malcolm Childs (1st, 2:00.30); Isaac Smith, Connor Munro, Aidan Link, Trip Schreiber (3rd, 2:10.6); 200 freestyle: Barr (1st, 2:13.04), Hunter Jones (2nd, 2:29.71), Keith Olson (3rd, 2:31.35); 200 IM: Peterson (1st, 2:37.03), Smith(2nd, 2:38.01); 50 freestyle: Childs (1st, 27.11), Syler Velasquez (2nd, 27.40), Luke Palaniuk (3rd, 29.46); 100 butterfly: Link (2nd, 1:06.27), Barr (3rd, 1:07.75); 100 freestyle: Velasquez (2nd, 1:05.52), Haugstad (3rd, 1:05.80); 500 freestyle: Smith (1st, 6:38), Olson (2nd, 7:01.20), Schreiber (3rd, 9:40.46); 200 freestyle relay: Peterson, Velasquez, Childs, Barr (1st, 1:48.93), Taylor Kenoyer, Matthew Brennan, Hunter Jones, Daniel Demchuck (2nd, 2:03.9); 100 backstroke: Haugstad (1st, 1:10.09), Link (2nd, 1:13.34); 100 breaststroke: Peterson (2nd, 1:22.45); 400 freestyle relay: Demchuck, Link, Haugstad, Smith (1st, 4:18.96), Olson, Palaniuk, Jones, Velasquez (2nd, 4:37.77).
The Spartans couldn’t slow down Arlington in the second half in a 72-51 loss.
Up eight at half, the Eagles went on a 23-13 run in the third quarter to grab the victory.
Viv Berrett led the Spartans with 12 points, Ava Cook scored 11 and Emma Floyd added 10.
The Spartans hosted Monroe on Friday, May 26. Next, Stanwood travels to Jackson on Thursday, June 3, before hosting Lakewood on Monday, June 7.
Stanwood suffered a pair of tough defeats last week.
On May 25, the Spartans fell to Arlington 61-46. After the first half, Stanwood was holding on to a slim 23-22 lead, but the Eagles came out firing and built a 41-34 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
On May 27, Stanwood dropped a high-scoring affair at Monroe 78-71. Cort Roberson led with a game-high 35 points and Dom Angelshaug added 14.
The Spartans host Glacier Peak on Wednesday and Jackson on Friday.