Sports

Monell, Buechner seal first home win for South Whidbey

South Whidbey’s Steven Sutton gets out from under Lakewood’s Nolan Bingamon during this week’s meet at home. Sutton won the 145-pound match 13-12 in three periods, and helped the Falcons win 42-30. - Ben Watanabe / The Record
South Whidbey’s Steven Sutton gets out from under Lakewood’s Nolan Bingamon during this week’s meet at home. Sutton won the 145-pound match 13-12 in three periods, and helped the Falcons win 42-30.
— image credit: Ben Watanabe / The Record

South Whidbey has only two home matches this season, and the Falcon wrestlers made the first one memorable with a 42-30 win over Lakewood.

The Falcons showed few to no signs of rust from almost three weeks of winter break. Senior co-captain Evan Thompson said the time off was good for the team.

“We kind of relaxed a while, let the mind go to ease, then we ramp it up again,” he said.

The spotlight was on, the overhead lights were off as South Whidbey’s wrestlers ran onto the mat at Erikson Gymnasium. With a well-stocked fan section, the Falcons carried the energy onto the mat and turned it into aggressive first shoots.

“The crowd was awesome,” Thompson said. “I was really excited about it. Wrestling my senior year, my second-to-last match in this place and the crowd was awesome, the student section was awesome.”

Before the match, South Whidbey coach Jim Thompson told his team in a factual and motivational manner that they should win every match.

Cameron Schille answered the coach’s challenge with a pin against Aaron Nech in the 135-pound weight division.

Fellow Falcon Jeff Kunnellis had the quickest win of the night against Jasmine Sandovaz with a pin in 42 seconds in the 119-pound match.

The final score was close at 42-30, but take away South Whidbey’s forfeits in the 103-, 112- and 125-pound matches and the Falcon wrestling team lost just two matches. South Whidbey may have closed out the match, but only one of its wins was decided in the first period — Pat Monell pinned Carl Lund in 1 minute, 13 seconds in the 189-pound match.

“It was really nice seeing from 152 [pounds] up, so 152, 160, 171, 189 and 215, they all pushed up weight,” Thompson said. “I’m really, really happy considering I pushed that whole upper echelon up.”

The 160-pound match between Falcon senior co-captain Van Morgen and Sean Hackworth went into an extra period.

Morgen, who went undefeated last year, struggled to find his rhythm after two official timeouts due to a bloody nose. Even so, Morgen managed to get a takedown in the extra minute for another victory.

“Van’s matches drive me crazy. There’s no other way to put it,” Coach Thompson said. “Though don’t forget he’s pushing up a weight. Van doesn’t make it easy on himself, because he gets in bad position some times.”

Evan Thompson improved his record to 8-1 with a win against Waywn Gwyther. He took the first shot and won 10-2, but missed on his first pin when Gwyther escaped. Running around the perimeter of the high school has increased his stamina and aggressiveness, he said.

“Evan’s kind of a one-pin kind of guy,” said his coach and dad. “If he doesn’t get that bar and run it, he gets frustrated. He tried to tilt a couple times — it’s not a pinning combination, but you’ll get points off it — but he needs to come up with something else.”

According to coach Thompson, Gwyther is one of Lakewood’s best wrestlers.

Avery Buechner (215) pinned Devon Jackson one minute into the second period.

In his first varsity match of the season, Buechner, who did not wrestle the previous two years, was on the attack from the opening seconds and didn’t relent until Jackson was on his back for the count.

The first contested points Lakewood scored came from Alex Wilson’s pin of Falcon sophomore Jack Douglas in the heavyweight match.

Lakewood won its second match when Cameron Wheely defeated Andy Madsen 17-0 in three periods.

After a decisive home win against a Cascade Conference opponent, South Whidbey’s flying high.

“We all wrestled tough. Everyone’s confidence is soaring,” Evan Thompson said. “Hopefully we’ll get that swagger on Saturday.”

South Whidbey will travel to Everett High School today for an all-day wrestling tournament, starting at 10 a.m.

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