Four Falcon wrestlers place at West Seattle Invitational

It was another successful weekend tournament for the wrestlers of South Whidbey. Out of 16 teams at the West Seattle Invitational on Jan. 15, the Falcons finished a season-high sixth place. Teams such as Enumclaw, Kingston, Eastside Catholic, Cedarcrest and Auburn were in attendance.

Individual success found multiple wrestlers from South Whidbey: Evan Thompson placed first at 145 pounds, Jeff Kunellis placed third at 119 pounds, Patrick Monell placed third at 171 pounds and Avery Buechner placed third at 189 pounds.

As the second-seeded wrestler in the tournament, Thompson started things off fast by defeating Jose Barrerez of Evergreen with a technical fall, 17-1. In the quarterfinals match he wrestled Jon Obernesser from Eastside Catholic and won by a decision of 8-3.

In the semi-final match Thompson faced the toughest opponent of his day. Against Kyler Burnett of Enumclaw, Thompson found himself down 7-6 entering the third period. He would later tie it and then gain an even 9-9 coming into the last 10 seconds.

“My dad has always told me that you can escape and get your points within two seconds or less,” Thompson said. “That’s all I was repeating in my head coming over and over.”

With 9.7 seconds left Thompson reversed on Burnett to get two points, winning by a decision of 11-9. He then advanced to the finals match for the second straight weekend.

In the finals match, Thompson met Quinn Mackenzie of Ingraham for the last match of the night. Thompson started off with an early 6-0 lead before he pinned Mackenzie in the middle of the second period.

“This was the first time I’ve won a tournament, and to win one after losing in the finals last weekend was a little bit of redemption for me,” Thompson said.

Fellow Falcon Kunellis pinned Mitch Williams of Sammamish in the second round. Kunnellis had a bye in the first round. In the semi-finals he lost to Nic Werner of Cedarcrest. He defeated Mitch Williams 13-4 in a rematch, good for a third-place tie.

Monell gained a victory in the first round against Jacob Young of West Seattle 12-3. Monell continued winning in the quarter-finals against Paco Jacinto of Sammamish 11-5. In the semi-finals match, he fell to the eventual 171-pound champion Neils Humphries of Evergreen. Monell then wrestled Shane Sanders of Enumclaw, defeating him in an overtime match 5-3, attaining a tie for third place.

Buechner also found himself in the semi-finals after pinning both Rafael Carmona of Auburn and Carson Fulmer of Nathan Hale. Buechner also lost in the semi-final match, this time to Maile Taufa of Evergreen. In his last match, Buechner pinned Zach Broten of West Seattle for a third-place finish.

Ben Jacobson-Ross (145 pounds) defeated Max Marchane of Auburn with a pin, but was forced to exit the tournament with an injury default.

Winning matches throughout the day but not placing in the top four were Andy Madsen

(130 pounds), Patrick Myatt (130) and Van Morgen (152).

“Again, we wrestled our butts off today. This was another tough tournament wrestling against mostly 3A and 4A schools is always a challenge. Having four guys place here is awesome,” Thompson said.

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