Once Peninsula High School wrestler Chance Stolz takes down an opponent, they’re typically in for a rough night.
Stolz, who normally wrestles in the 195-pound weight class, competed at 220 pounds Thursday night against Bonney Lake’s Caleb Davis. Stolz trailed 2-1 going into the second round, but once he took Davis down to the ground, the match was over quickly.
Stolz provided one of few highlights for Peninsula, which dropped the South Puget Sound League dual meet 54-18.
Peninsula coach Mark Nickels said Bonney Lake has a tough program, and while he hoped for better team results, he offered praise.
“They have good coaching, and they have a lot of community support behind them,” he said. “They do what they need to do all season long. They have kids that are committed to the program and are spending time out of season with those coaches and working to build in those offseasons. They look to gain a year on the kids that aren’t doing it.”
Stolz earned the pin by using a move called the butcher, a fitting title for his dominating effort.
“You cross-face the guy, you reach under, and then you bump into his hips so he falls down, and pretty much just crawl over his face until his shoulders touch the mat,” Stolz said. “It’s my move. It’s pretty much how I pin people.”
Nickels called the move Stolz’s “bread and butter.”
Stolz said wrestling up a class didn’t affect his mindset or approach. Before every match, he goes over to a wall to mentally prepare.
“I just think to myself, ‘Wrestle to best of your ability. Don’t underestimate or overestimate anyone,’ ” Stolz said. “You just have to wrestle like you know how to. A lot of it is mental. You can know as much as you want, but if you’re looking at some guy and thinking he’s better than you, you’re not going to wrestle as good as you could. You just have to go out there confident, but not cocky.”
Stolz has had somewhat of a breakout year, although Nickels said it wasn’t entirely unexpected. The coach pointed to the development of Stolz’s offensive attack on his feet as one of the many facets of his game that he’s improved.
“Initially, he’s been kind of, wait, wait, wait, and then just kind of get on the kid’s head when he came in,” Nickels said. “So Chance is really working out of his underhook, and he took a single, and it was successful, so he owned that takedown.”
Stolz has his sights set on a top-five finish at the Mat Classic state tournament, which will be held next month at the Tacoma Dome.
The other highlight of the night was the rubber match between Peninsula’s Zach Goddard and Bonney Lake’s Caid Caveness, a battle of two highly skilled 145-pound wrestlers.
Caveness, ranked No. 2 in the state, won the first match between the two, while Goddard won the second.
“We talked about this being the difference in this match and the first, that Caveness was really going to be coming to get retribution for the last loss,” Nickels said.
Goddard earned the first takedown, but Caveness came back and tied the match at 2-2 going into the final round. Goddard earned a one-point escape with 45 seconds to go, although Caveness landed a takedown in the final seconds to seal a 4-3 decision.
“I was just tired. I don’t want to blame it on that, though,” Goddard said. “I just was playing too defensive, I guess. I should’ve just stayed with my game.”
Nickels gave credit where it was due.
“It’s just two good wrestlers wrestling,” he said. “Somebody is gonna get a takedown. It was very similar to the last match we wrestled. For the most part, except for those two shots where he gave up the reversal, and then the takedown at the end, (Goddard) stayed in great position and did what he was supposed to do.”
After the match, Caveness extended his hand to help Goddard up. While Caveness entered the season as the favorite, Goddard has earned his respect.
“The competitiveness builds the respect,” Goddard said. “He beat me a lot, I respect him, and then I came back and ended up beating him, and obviously he’s built some respect for me. It can go either way any time we wrestle. Anything can happen.”Sports reporter Jon Manley can be reached at 253-358-4151 or by email at jon.manley@ gateline.com. Follow him on Twitter, @gateway_jon.