ADNA — Wrestling for a regional title is a big deal. It’s a bigger deal when you are matched up against one of your teammates.

When Daylin Kemmer and Brandon McMullen stood face to face prior to the title match in the 160 division Saturday in Adna, they knew they were both headed to the state tournament for the first time. However, they also knew who was going to walk out of the ring with the title.

Before any moves could be made, before even the whistle blew, the referee looked to Kemmer and lifted his arm in victory. But then, I’m a very classy move, Kemmer took a step forward, grabbed McMullen’s right arm and lifted it in the air as well.

“Brandon gave a default to me so that we wouldn’t wrestle and actually hurt ourselves,” Kemmer explained after the match. He said they decided he would get the win because he was seeded higher. “I’m pretty excited. (Going to state is) a pretty unique experience and not a lot of people get to go.”

Just a week after winning their first ever district team title, the Ilwaco wrestling team took home their first regional title, 182.5-175 over Concrete High School. They did so by advancing seven wrestlers to the state tournament in Tacoma this weekend, including two individual weight champions.

“Even though you want more (to go to state), we take a very similar group as last year,” said coach Kevin McNulty following the conclusion of the meet. Last year, four IHS wrestlers went to state and all four came back with medals. The only wrestler of that four to not return is junior Jack Odneal, who suffered an injury that ended his season a month ago.

“We’ve overcome some things, but we have enough of a nucleus that helps out,” said McNulty.

Senior Riki Thompson, who is returning to state for the third straight time, won his first regional title Saturday. It will also be the first time that his younger brother Joe will be going to compete at state — an honor Riki shared with his older brother two years ago. Joe was an alternate to state last season.

“He got me with a thumb, it feels better now,” said Thompson, whose right eye was poked during the match, causing a long delay. After returning, he quickly pinned his opponent for the win. “I’m glad that (Joe) took time in the offseason and prepared with me.”

Also punching their tickets for the Mat Classic at the Tacoma Dome was Jack Kaino, Brandon McMullen and Alec Bell, who all placed second in the weight class. They will be joined by third place finisher Joe Lopez and Joe Thompson, who placed fourth. The Fishermen also have four going as alternates — Kasey Bageant, Hilda Magaly, Allen Chetwood and DeAntay Kellogg.

Finishing just outside of the cutoff in sixth place for Ilwaco was Colbain Harner, Royce Murry, Brandon Duke, Marcello Lazaro and Brandon Sparks — who had one of the most exciting matches of the tournament, a triple overtime win in round one.

“I’ve never had a triple overtime match,” said a winded Sparks after the hard victory. “It’s stressful, but you just gotta listen to coach, that’s it. They’ll tell you what to do that’s right.”

Sparks used a wrestling move called a Merkle, a “home run” move sometimes used to catch your opponent off guard.

“Hook the leg with your inside leg and you can roll either way,” Sparks explained. “That’ll get’em usually.”

The female wrestlers held their regional meet at Aberdeen High School, where both Bageant and Magaly were in third place matches with a trip to state on the line late Saturday afternoon. Magaly jumped out fast and had her opponent on her back but had time expire before she could get the pin called. She was pinned in the next round. Bageant’s match went quicker than she hoped, as the two wrestlers initially tangled their long arms before her opponent eventually pinned her.

“I got caught on the side and couldn’t get out of it. She’s a lot faster than I am,” Bageant said after the match. This is the second straight year she has been a win away from a state berth. “I guess it’s okay, only because I’ll still have a chance to go to state. It’s a slim chance that I’ll get to compete but I’m still going.”

Kellogg, a senior, got some payback in the fifth/sixth place match, by defeating the same wrestler he lost to in round one. He said he was happy to get a chance to experience the state tournament, even if he doesn’t get to compete.

“It’s pretty exciting to me, I’m kind of speechless,” he said as he waited to take the podium for the medal presentation Saturday. “I was going for a switch and I think I turned the wrong direction and he caught me in it. And in the last match I just tried to avoid that situation. I didn’t want to make the same mistake.”

• Riki Thompson (138) will get a first round bye on day one of the state tournament, and will wrestle his first match in round two, starting at 5:24 p.m. that evening.

• Daylin Kemmer (160) will also open with a bye, and will wrestle in the second round at 6:12 p.m. on Friday.

• Brandon McMullen (160) wrestles his first round match at 12:08 p.m. Friday.

• Jack Kaino (152) gets a bye in the first round Friday and will wrestle his first match in round two at 5:56 p.m.

• Joe Lopez (152) opens with a first round match at 12:04 p.m.

• Alec Bell (195) wrestles his first round match at 12:56 p.m. Friday.

• Joe Thompson wrestles his first round match at 10:16 p.m. Friday.

For more information and match times going forward in the tournament, please see www.bit.ly/1on9lmp.

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