Oly’s Yeik, Borcherding are regional champions

Olympic’s two-headed wrestling monster struck once again, this time at the Class 3A Region III tournament at Bremerton High School Feb. 14.

Branden Yeik and Jesse Borcherding, both of whom enter today’s Mat Classic as frontrunners to contend for a state title, won individual regional championships and the Trojans finished third in the team standings with 120 points. With 160-pound Shane Galeski and 171-pound Luke O’Halek finishing third, the Trojans have four wrestlers in the Mat Classic mix.

“I’m happy,” Oly coach Steve Polillo said. “The kids left it all on the mat.”

Borcherding, who last year was snubbed of a regional title by then-senior Billy Richardson of Bremerton, beat Yelm’s Patrick Benson for the second time in as many weeks to improve to 29-0 on the season and earn his first regional championship. The 125-pounder opens Mat Classic against Jack Forrest of Everett.

Borcherding made relatively quick work of Benson, pinning Benson with less than 15 seconds left in the first period to secure the title.

“I knew I was going to see him in the finals again,” Borcherding said of Benson, whose only two losses of the season are against Borcherding. “It’s nice (to win) because it’s going to be easier in state this year, an easier road to the finals.”

That road could end with a match with defending state champion Sam Bauer of Enumclaw, who is aligned on the other side of the bracket.

“He’s undefeated too, so that’ll be a really good match,” Borcherding said. “I’ll probably see him in the finals if I make it.”

“Jesse doesn’t run away from anybody,” Polillo said. “He’s had a great season, his work ethic has been amazing. He’s focused on what he wants to do like nobody I’ve ever coached. He’s going to do well.”

Yeik, meanwhile, overcame an elbow to the eyebrow that left him bleeding to beat Adam Raemer of Port Angles 5-2 in the title match at 140 pounds. Yeik said the blow to his eye didn’t hurt, but trainers had to wrap his head with tape to stop the bleeding. The win against Raemer came after two grueling matches to open the tournament, including a 9-8 triple-overtime victory in the first round against Yelm’s Marshall Llanos.

“I was real surprised, actually,” Yeik said of the first-round match.

“Branden wrestled with grit today, you can’t describe it as anything other than grit,” Polillo said, pointing to the triple-overtime victory. “It’s a testament to how hard he works in practice and his conditioning.”

Now Yeik, who last year won the state title at 130, looks to go back-to-back at Mat Classic. He said wrestling at 140 has been more difficult than at 130, but he believes the experience he gained at last year’s state tournament should serve him well this time around.

“I think that since I’ve already been there and done that, it’s going to help me a little bit. I’ll be able to wrestle better right off the bat,” Yeik said. “It comes down to whoever wants it.”

Polillo was impressed not only with Yeik and Borcherding, but also Galeski, O’Halek and the entire field.

“This is a good, strong region,” Polillo said. “I think we saw a number of state champion wrestlers here today, I really believe it.”

Yelm won the team title with 254 points, followed by Union (161).

Central Kitsap’s Joey Troyer (112) and Michael Crowley (171) qualified for Mat Classic, as did five Klahowya wrestlers, led by 145-pound Neil Sell.

West Central District III Regional tournament

Team scores—Yelm 254, Union 161, Olympic 120, Port Angeles 113.5, Prairie 89, Camas 87, Capital 67, North Thurston 64, Hudson’s Bay 62, Columbia River 52, Bremerton 45, North Kitsap 28, Timberline 27, Fort Vancouver 0.

Championship finals

103—Josh Inouya-Clayton (Yel) p. Austin Ottenbacher (NT) 0:36. 112—Dylan Hyder (Yel) d. Ian Burkhardt (Yel) by injury default. 119—Patrick Mucha (NT) d. Emilio Alcantar (HB) 8-5. 125—Jesse Borcherding (Oly) p. Patrick Benson (Yel) 1:49. 130—Caleb Thornhill (Yel) d. James Bradley (Yel) by forfeit. 135—Jess Patrick (Yel) d. Kyle Wiley (Pra) 11-4. 140—Branden Yeik (Oly) d. Adam Raemer (PA) 5-2. 145—Scott Lundquist (CR) d. Ricky Simon (Uni) 11-5. 152—Emilio Bowers (Yel) p. Justin Swansboro (NK) 3:03. 160—Steve Harvey (Cap) p. Caleeb Malychewski (Cam) 3:11. 171—Tyler Tangeman (Pra) d. Jacob Longmire (Yel) 11-10. 189—Clinton Coulter (Uni) d. Andres Garcia (Bre) 5-4. 215—Quanah Briggs (Uni) d. Tyler Slater (PA) 14-5. 285—John Camp (PA) p. Josh Stephens (Yel) 0:24.

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