Knocked down and trailing early, Auburn Riverside reached down and pushed back last Thursday night, Jan. 11.
Riding the heart of their lineup, the Ravens overcame rival Auburn Mountainview 46-29 in a North Puget Sound League Olympic Division wrestling match that likely will determine the regular-season dual mat champion.
The Ravens, who have won their last 12 division matches, attempted to clinch a second straight title Thursday at Federal Way. Auburn Riverside (5-0) defeated Auburn Mountainview (3-1-1) for the third consecutive winter.
“This was like the league title match. Being the only two undefeated teams left, it’s good to get a win against them,” said Auburn Riverside’s 120-pound state-class junior Yusef Nelson, who punctuated the dual victory by dominating Kamana Naukua by major decision, 17-3, nearly pinning him as the final buzzer sounded. “You want to get a pin, but it’s about wrestling your own match. … You hope things go your way, and they did. We won the ones we were supposed to.”
The visiting Lions took the first four matches before the Ravens’ Peyton Scheschy (152 pounds) and Arthur Troncoso (160) delivered pins.
After Auburn Mountainview’s 170-pound Drew Davenport rode Kenny Miller to seize an 11-4 decision to give the Lions a 23-12 lead, Auburn Riverside took over the match. Jonathan Richards was awarded a forfeit win at 182, Sam Onishchenko broke down his opponent at 195, and heavyweights Will Russell and Trendae Umi-Tuato’o posted first-round pins.
Nelson and Jaden Cassel closed the door with methodical wins. Both are returning, seventh-place finishers at state – Cassel as a freshman at 106, Nelson as a sophomore at 113. Both are difficult to handle.
“When you finish (the match) with two of the best wrestlers in the state, that really helped us,” said Ravens coach Kyle Jones. “Jaden and Yusek will always go out and battle, put up points and get what needs to be done for the team.
“Jaden’s really tough,” Jones added. “Having him and Yusef – the best one-two combo in our league – is great. It’s nice to have them back to back. I can put them out there and trust they’re going to get it done for me.”
The Lions took the fight to the Ravens and came away with promising moments.
At 126 pounds, quick and explosive Jabril Muhammed improved to 21-7 on the season, downing state-class Mikah Fathers by major decision, 14-4.
“I knew he was going to come out hard. I had to step up my ‘A’ game today,” said Muhammed, who defeated Fathers by a closer decision earlier in the season. “He’s really good. I was a little more prepared than last time.”
At 132 pounds, the Lions’ state-class Malik Walker pinned Ismael Jiminez. Auburn Mountainview’s Noah Koester handled Kailen Fontes by major decision at 138, 11-1, and Brennen Hansen pinned Zach Villaneuva at 145.
Davenport, a sophomore, pulled a surprise.
“He’s very athletic. He’s just a competitor who has a ton of potential and heart,” said Lions coach Jay McGuffin.
The Lions, a young and developing team, gave it a solid effort.
“I was wondering how we might be able to compete tonight,” McGuffin said. “They fought hard. The kids are hungry and they love to learn. … We’re having fun and just getting better.”
The Ravens hope to peak at the right hour with the postseason fast approaching. They passed a significant test last week.
“We came in knowing it was going to be tough,” said Onishchenko, who opened up a 16-5 lead late in the third round against Will Mendoza, who could not continue after injuring his shoulder. “Not everyone is going to win, but it’s good if we give up as little points as possible and the guys who are going to win get big points.”
Auburn Riverside 46, Auburn Mountainview 29
126 pounds – Jabril Muhammed (AMV) major decision Mikah Fathers, 14-4; 132 – Malik Walker (AMV) pinned Ismael Jiminez, 3:53; 138 – Noah Koester (AMV) maj. dec. Kailen Fontes, 11-1; 145 – Brennen Hansen (AMV) p. Zach Villanueva, 2:58; 152 – Peyton Scheschy (AR) p. Alex Younger, 3:16; 160 – Arthur Troncoso (AR) p. Matt Nolan, 5:38; 170 – Drew Davenport (AMV) dec. Kenny Miller, 11-4; 182 – Jonathon Richards (AR) won by forfeit; 195 – Sam Onischenko (AR) won by injury default over Will Mendoza, third round; 220 – Will Russell (AR) p. Jarron Marks, 1:48; 285 – Trendae Umi-Tuato (AR) p. Dawson Orcutt, :55; 106 – Braden Buell (AMV) won by forfeit; 113 – Jaden Cassel (AR) p. Jager Woods, 2:40; 120 – Yusef Nelson (AR) maj. dec. Kamana Nahaku, 17-3.