Decatur wrestlers take third at invite

The Decatur wrestling team finished third at last weekend’s Gator Invitational tournament at Decatur.

Lake Stevens won the tournament with 195 points, Heritage was second with 185.5 points and Decatur was third with 172 points.

The tournament included some of the top teams and wrestlers from around the area.

“It was one of the highest quality tournaments in the state,” Decatur wrestling coach Mike Bressler said. “Lake Stevens, who won the 3A state title the past three years, was there. Heritage came up, they have had some high state placers the past three years. Tahoma was there. It was just a tough tournament with great competition.”

Two Gators earned championships at the tournament.

Ryan Trotter won the 103-pound title and Nick McCluskey won at 152 pounds.

Trotter dropped down to 103 pounds this season after he took seventh at state last year at 112 pounds.

He earned a major decision over Travis Warrington of Lake Stevens 16-5.

“He’s just getting stronger by the day,” Bressler said. “He’s looking tougher than heck. He’s a good technician and he’s powerful. He has a lot of good mat awareness and I think he’s focused this year. He’s out to say something.”

McCluskey won a 6-1 decision over John Leraas of River Ridge.

“He’s probably the most talented athlete I have on the team, no doubt about it,” Bressler said of McCluskey. “He’s got fantastic balance and he’s got savvy. He knows when to turn it on. He’s getting better by the match and has a real good chance of doing well in the post season if he stays focused.”

The Gators also had four second-place finishers at the tournament.

Anthony Cossano was second at 125, Jason Bressler was second at 160, Kyle Bressler was second at 171 and Dan Esbenshade was second at 189.

Cossano lost 11-2 to Greg Ford of River Ridge, who was third in the 3A state finals last year.

“Cossano lost to a stud in the finals,” coach Bressler said. “I have no doubt (Ford) will be state champion at 3A this year.”

Jason Bressler lost 12-6 to Christian Anderson of Lake Stevens, who is a three-time state placer and took fourth in state last year.

“It was a good match,” coach Bressler said. “Anderson was a quality kid.”

Kyle Bressler beat two state placers just to get into the finals. In the semi-final around, Kyle beat Jason Wargo from Orting 7-6.

In the finals, Kyle lost a 4-3 decision to Ryan Qualls from Tahoma.

“It was a heartbreaker,” coach Bressler said. “Qualls did a good job working the edge of the mat. I know Kyle will get him next time.”

At 189 pounds, Dan Esbenshade lost 10-1 to Ryan Anderson of Lake Stevens.

Decatur’s Myzell Foster took third at 275 pounds when he pinned his opponent, who was a state qualifier from Orting.

Dallas Harwood took third at 130 pounds, sophomore Leabua Younger took third at 135 pounds. Junior Mike Dickson also finished third.

Decatur placed two heavyweights in the top four when Jake Wheeler took fourth.

“You’ve got to give a lot of credit to Jake,” coach Bressler said. “There’s just no quit in him. He’s kind of in over his head, but he never quits. I’m really pleased with how he’s been doing.”

Decatur wrestles at Federal Way today at 7:30 p.m., then faces Bethel on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

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