WRESTLING: Kentwood handles Kentlake on mat

Kentwood's Ruben Navejas (right) explodes off the whistle in the 119-pound bout against Kentlake's Jeff Harjehausen. Navejas won the match 12-0 to improve to 22-0 this season.
— image credit: CHARLES CORTES, Kent Reporter

The beat went on for the Kentwood High wrestling team Thursday night at Kentlake High.

Behind pins from Scott Willis, Dalton Meyers, Austin Torres and Josh Boekelman along with a pivotal victory by decision from Matthew Scott, the Conquerors turned back the Falcons 40-29 in a South Puget Sound League North Division dual meet.

Kentwood has dominated the annual meet against Kentlake, dubbed the "Cov-Town Throwdown." The Conquerors have won the last 10 matchups against the Falcons. The last time Kentlake upended Kentwood on the mat was during the 2000-2001 season. That also was the last time Kentwood lost to another Kent School District team.

Thursday night's win, however, was far from a gimme for the Conquerors, said Kentwood coach Ken Sroka.

"You never go into a meet thinking you're going to lose, but (against Kentlake), I had my doubts," admitted Sroka. "I just wanted us to get in there, work hard and we'd see what happened. There were a couple of big matches that we won, and it just steamrolled from there.

"We beat a good team."

Kentwood won eight of the 14 matches, though Kentlake grabbed the lead — and some much-needed momentum — at 140 pounds, when state veteran Samir Faizoullin outlasted Kentwood's Brennan Allen, 3-1. Faizoullin's victory, which came moments after a major decision win by teammate Colton Marlowe, gave Kentlake a 17-16 advantage halfway through the meet. The Conquerors (4-1) proceeded to rip off four straight wins, a run that began at 145 pounds when Scott earned a 5-0 decision over Kentlake's Gabe Carrilo.

The win was pivotal, Sroka said.

"Scott just wrestled really well," the coach said. "He stepped up really big in that match. That was one of the matches that I didn't know about. I really didn't know what was going to happen."

Kentwood's Torres (152) and Boekelman (160) followed with pins, giving the Conks a 31-17 lead.

Despite the run of victories, the meet had yet to be decided. Kentlake's Joel Firman (171) kept Kentwood's celebration on ice with a pin of Quintin Trinh, cutting the deficit to 31-23.

"He looked good," Kentlake coach Jeremy Williams said of Firman. "We're hoping we can get him into state and get him on the podium."

Kentwood's Albert Tadevosyan (189) put the meet away moments later with a 20-7 major decision of Kentlake's Cody McMahon.

The meet of the night, however, belonged to Kentlake's Sean Farr (130), who worked a 14-6 major decision of Kentwood's Jose Hernandez. A match between state participants, Hernandez carried a 5-4 lead into the third period. Farr turned up the pace in the final period against Hernandez, who bumped up a weight class for the bout.

"You have two state guys going at it, and it was close until the third period," Williams said. "Sean picked it up a notch."

Kentwood was competing without three of its top wrestlers: Jonathan Ohashi (140/145), Lucas Kelley (171) and Hayden Peterson (112/119).

"Those are three big shoes to fill," Sroka said.

Peterson, who banged up his knee at a recent tournament, was held out for precautionary reasons. Ohashi and Kelley were sick.

Kentlake also was missing Jesse Keliiliki (189), who also was sick.

Along with Firman, Austin Orcutt (103) and Nathan Meeks (285) also got pins for Kentlake.

Meeks, who has blossomed into one of the SPSL North's top heavyweights this winter, was especially impressive during his pin of Kentwood's Daniel Park.

"He's a really athletic heavyweight," Williams said. "He's tough for opponents to work with because he has a low center of gravity and doesn't allow opponents to do much. He's got a lot of drive and wants to be successful."

Meanwhile, Kentwood's Ruben Navejas, who took second at state a year ago and won the title the season before that, remained perfect. Navejas worked a 12-0 major decision of Kentlake's Jeff Harjehausen. With the win, Navejas improved to 22-0 this season.

Kentwood also received a victory from James Hatfield (215) while Kentlake's Colton Marlowe (135) also chipped in a victory.

Kentwood 40, Kentlake 29

103: Austin Orcutt (KL) p. Sophia Chi (KW) 5:38; 112: Scott Willis (KW) p. Anthony Hernandez (KL) :34; 119: Ruben Navejas (KW) md. Jeff Harjehausen (KL) 12-0; 125: Dalton Meyers (KW) p. Jake Lamb (KL) 5:59; 130: Sean Farr (KL) md. Jose Hernandez (KW) 14-6; 135: Colton Marlowe (KL) md. Korey Kaufman (KW) 13-4; 140: Samir Faizoullin (KL) dec. Brennan Allen (KW) 3-1; 145: Matthew Scott (KW) dec. Gabe Carrilo (KL) 5-0; 152: Austin Torres (KW) p. Tyler Carrico (KL) 3:58; 160: Josh Boekelman (KW) p. Matthew Nutting (KL) 2:47; 171: Joel Firman (KL) p. Quintin Trinh (KW) 3:07; 189: Albert Tadevosyan (KW) tf. Cody McMahon, Cody (KL) 20-7; 215: James Hatfield (KW) md. Tyler Deskins (KL) 13-3; 285: Nathan Meeks (KL) tf. Daniel Park (KW) 3:07.

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