Sports

Thompson advances to state wrestling tournament

Cameron Schille tries to escape from a pin by Blaine junior Shaypher Hendricks. In the first-round 135-pound match, Schille was pinned with 23 seconds remaining in the first period. Hendricks placed in the top-five in the 135 division and advances to the state wrestling tournament in Tacoma on Friday, Feb. 18.  - Ben Watanabe / The Record
Cameron Schille tries to escape from a pin by Blaine junior Shaypher Hendricks. In the first-round 135-pound match, Schille was pinned with 23 seconds remaining in the first period. Hendricks placed in the top-five in the 135 division and advances to the state wrestling tournament in Tacoma on Friday, Feb. 18.
— image credit: Ben Watanabe / The Record

LYNDEN — Evan Thompson held his head with both hands. His eyes were closed tightly and his face grimaced.

There was good reason behind it. He got an elbow in his right eye from Mount Baker sophomore Zach Larson during the Falcon’s first match at the District 1 regional wrestling tournament.

Thompson, wrestling at 145 pounds, was deadlocked with Larson in the first round. Larson led 1-0 on a technical point for Thompson stepping out of bounds.

Thompson chose to start down and escaped from under Larson for one point. Larson scored two takedowns before Thompson won another point for escaping and standing up. Then Thompson scored two takedowns before Larson stood up to tie the score 6-6 by the third period.

In the third period, Thompson trailed 8-10 with 1 minute left. He escaped, reversed and scored a two-point takedown on Larson to take the lead, 11-10.

With 36 seconds left, Thompson scored another takedown and kept Larson down on the mat to win, 13-10.

“I didn’t really start wrestling the way I should have until the third period,” Thompson said. “That’s when I really started waking up. He kind of stood up straight and

I took the opportunity to shoot in on his ankle. I could tell he was kind of winded.”

He didn’t escape unharmed. His right eye was bruised and swollen. He had to check in four times with the trainer for signs of a concussion. The trainer cleared Thompson, who then lost to A.J. Howard, the 2A’s fifth-ranked wrestler from Mount Baker, in the semi-finals.

In the consolation semi-finals, Thompson won 6-2 over Patrick Anderson of Bellingham, advancing to the State Mat Classic in the third and fourth-place bout.

“I was very proud that my son [Evan Thompson] made it to state,” said Falcon head wrestling coach Jim Thompson.

“When you set out at the beginning of the season to reach a certain goal, there are obviously going to be some steps to achieve it,” he said. “To have him go out there and get it was a really cool thing for me to watch.”

Thompson wrestled Ryan Mouat of Lynden and lost 10-8. Thompson led Mouat 8-6 coming into the last 10 seconds, but a two-point reversal and a three-point near fall gave Mouat the victory.

Other than Evan Thompson, the Falcons failed to remain in the championship bracket after first-round losses.

Cameron Schille (135 pounds) was pinned in the first round by Blaine sophomore Shaypher Hendricks with 23 seconds remaining in the first period. He advanced through the second round by an injury default.

Ben Jacobson-Ross (152) won a decision of 9-7 over Carson Eiswald of Sehome, scoring a takedown in the last 10 seconds of the match.

In the third round, Schille and Jacobson-Ross were both pinned late in the first period. In the final placing matches, Schille was pinned by Moses Sun of Granite Falls and Jacobson-Ross lost by a 9-4 decision to Aaron Saunders of Squalicum.

“Saturday didn’t go as well as I’d hoped, as I finished sixth and didn’t qualify for state,” said Ben Jacobson-Ross. “But overall I really enjoyed my season. We had quite a few additions to the team this year that we prepared and trained to the best of our ability to carry on a tough tradition of wrestling here at South Whidbey.”

Jeff Kunellis (119), Patrick Monell (171) and Avery Buechner (189) were all eliminated following losses in the first and second rounds.

“I thought we could have gotten a couple more guys through,” coach Thompson said. “I thought Ben Jacobson-Ross and Avery Buechner had real good shots at qualifying. I was pleasantly surprised with Cameron Schille, a first-year wrestler, being [the] second alternate to state. Very cool.”

The Mat Classic XXIII will be held on Feb. 18-19. Coach Thompson, Evan Thompson and Schille leave Thursday for Tacoma.

In the first round, Thompson will face Zach Schrader, a senior from Eatonville. The slated start time is noon.

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