Red Wolves nip Falcon wrestlers to remain Cascade Conference's top team

Falcon senior Jerimiah Robey pins Red Wolves 195-pounder Parker Dixon in the second round. Robey was one of only two Falcon victories against Cedarcrest on Thursday night.  - Ben Watanabe / The Record
Falcon senior Jerimiah Robey pins Red Wolves 195-pounder Parker Dixon in the second round. Robey was one of only two Falcon victories against Cedarcrest on Thursday night.
— image credit: Ben Watanabe / The Record

LANGLEY — Cedarcrest’s wrestlers performed every bit like the top conference squad they have become.

And South Whidbey knew it but was undeterred in its feisty fight Thursday night.

The Red Wolves are the Cascade Conference’s top wrestling team. They are also ranked second in the state among 2A programs, according to Their 66-12 victory against the Falcons displayed the Red Wolves’ prowess, despite a close call that resulted in a Falcon loss in the 182-pound bout.

“You have first-year kids against state-ranked kids, that’s what you saw here tonight,” said Falcon wrestling coach Jim Thompson. “They have six or seven kids that are ranked.”

One of the ranked Red Wolves was senior Martin Vakamoce (182). The match against Falcon junior Pat Monell went into a 1-minute sudden death and two 30-second periods.

Monell led 4-3 on two one-point stands and a two-point takedown with a minute left in the third period.

Vakamoce nearly spun out of Monell’s grip, but was flipped onto his back and eventually stood up to tie the match 4-4. With seconds remaining, Monell lunged at his legs and nearly had a takedown but time ran out.

“Pat should have beat him,” Thompson said. “I thought that ref was going to give (Monell) the two points. It was that close to being a victory against a state-ranked kid.”

In the first overtime period, whoever scored the first point within the allotted minute would win. Neither wrestler scored, forcing the night’s final match to enter into two 30-second periods.

“We both did good defensively and offensively. It made it a more fun match for me, and probably him, too,” Monell said.

Vakamoce started the first 30-second overtime down and quickly scored a two-point reverse and a three-point near fall to take the lead 9-4. Monell was unable to score any points in the last period.

“The difference for me is he had more experience and he’s been in more matches than I have,” Monell said. “I made a clumsy little error, he ended up getting in the back of me and I ended up losing.”

The night began with the only Falcon victories in the 195 and 220.

Falcon senior Jerimiah Robey pinned Parker Dixon in 3:19.

“It was a good match. The kid wrestled up,” Robey said.

“I felt like I was pretty good on my feet.”

Though his victory was expected, the following match shocked the victorious Falcon.

In the 220 bout, sophomore Jose Chavez pinned Red Wolves freshman Sam Somers in 1:12.

As soon as Chavez shot and rolled Somers onto his back, the hundred or so spectators erupted into cheers, though Chavez never heard it.

“I kept my mind clear and I started wrestling how I wrestled in practice,” Chavez said. “When he shot, he slipped, so I got my half pin right away and took him right down.”

Entering the match, the inexperienced Chavez thought the outcome would favor the Red Wolf wrestler.

“I thought I was going to lose in the first round,” Chavez said. “But my coach said to keep my mind clear, ‘Wrestle like you wrestle in practice, wrestle smart, you got this guy.’”

“I was happy. It was like one of the best moments.”

Chavez’s high was followed by a series of lows and losses by the Falcons, who, save for Robey and Chavez, would have been swept.

The Falcon coaches were more interested in seeing their wrestlers’ technique and approach than a victory, either individual or team, however.

“I told them before the match, ‘You beat Cedarcrest, I’ll buy all you guys Mercedes-Benzes,’” Thompson said. “I don’t expect them to beat a team like Cedarcrest, but I want them to compete.”

The lightweight matches were decided in a combined 2:38. In the 106, Red Wolves freshman Bailey McBride pinned Falcon freshman Steve Smith in 44 seconds. Cedarcrest senior Connor Lemons (113) pinned Falcon freshman Josh McElhinny in 51 seconds. Falcon freshman Will Holbert (120) was pinned by Red Wolves junior Nik Werner in 1:03.

South Whidbey forfeited its next two matches at 126 and 132 pounds.

South Whidbey’s middle weights favored Cedarcrest, though they went beyond the first round.

Andy Madsen, a Falcon sophomore, lost in three rounds to Red Wolves junior Nick Decker in the 138. Falcon sophomore Tyler Russell was pinned in 2:43 by Red Wolves junior Carlos Toledano. Cedarcrest's D.J. Bergquist pinned South Whidbey sophomore Kyrell Broyles in 40 seconds.

In the 160, Falcon senior Montana Johnson was pinned by Red Wolves senior Eli Gremmert in 2:54. At 170, Falcon freshman Calvin Shimada was pinned by Red Wolves senior Cody Paxman in 12 seconds.

“Watching those first two guys, our bigger guys, win was pretty neat,” Thompson said. “We’ll come back next week and try to beat Archbishop Murphy.”

South Whidbey travels to Mill Creek for the Everett Classic, hosted by Everett High School.

More than 15 schools compete in the midseason wrestling tournament, which pits 4A wrestlers against 1A wrestlers, and everything in between.

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