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Short of state, wrestling seniors discuss their seasons’ highs and lows
Senior moments: Hopes pinned on state Mat Classic fell short
South Whidbey’s senior wrestlers all qualified for the regional championships. Only one was a four-year Falcon grappler, while two were on the team since their junior years and one moved to the school last year.
Among the four seniors who finished the season, they combined for 59 victories this season; Cameron Schille led with 18, Montana Johnson had 14, Avery Buechner had 14 and Jerimiah Robey had 13.
The Falcons’ head coach Jim Thompson had reservations early about the team’s leadership, and said he was pleasantly surprised as the year progressed. He saw them develop into captains and reliable wrestlers.
Of the four awards he gave out during the team’s banquet this week, three went to seniors, including the Coach’s, Leadership and Most Outstanding awards.
Buechner and Robey both received the Coach’s Award.
“They’re seniors and came back from injuries,” Thompson said.
Johnson won the Leadership Award, and Schille took home the Most Outstanding honor.
What feat are you most proud of this year?
Avery Buechner (195 pounds): I’m most proud of being able to overcome my shoulder injury and finishing the season.
Montana Johnson (160): Getting third at districts.
Jerimiah Robey (195): Doing decently well throughout the season, as well as having a balance of sports, school and clubs.
How did your wrestling career develop?
Buechner: My wrestling career started late and I went from a mediocre wrestler to a wrestler that had a great chance at state.
Johnson: I wrestled when I was 6-9 years old and wrestled in middle school.
Robey: It developed rather slowly but as time went on I found my little niche in it.
What is your favorite move?
Buechner: My favorite move would have to be the standing switch.
Johnson: Head lever.
Robey: Sweep single to the right leg.
Which move did you struggle against?
Buechner: I struggled against the ankle pick the most. I couldn’t seem to stop it.
Johnson: Head and arm throw.
Robey: Arm bars.
Which match do you remember most?
Buechner: The match I remember the most would be the last match of the regional tournament against Foster Wade.
Johnson: My last match at districts.
Robey: Wrestling Jesse Castillo because he is a lot stronger than me but I still held my own.
Which match do you have regrets about, and why?
Buechner: The match I have regrets about would have to be against Foster Wade at regionals because if I had won I would have gone to state and it sucks having a shot like that taken away from you.
Johnson: My match against Iddi in semi-finals at districts — lost by two points; could have been in finals.
Robey: There are a few matches here and there but I would like to say that I don’t regret anything about this season.
How many years did you wrestle for SWHS?
Buechner: Two years.
Johnson: Four years.
Robey: Two years.
What is your favorite moment with Coach Jim Thompson?
Buechner: My favorite moment with Coach Thompson would have to be the ride home from the regional tournament this year, ha ha.
Johnson: Our pep talk before the Archbishop Murphy match.
Robey: Helping him move into his new house.
What does it take to be a successful wrestler?
Buechner: To be a successful wrestler, it takes non-stop dedication in the mat room and going into every match with the mindset that you’re going to do anything, no matter what, to come out the victor. Like Coach Thompson and (assistant coach Paul) Newman say, what are you willing to do to go to state?
Johnson: Mental toughness and wrestling year-round.
Robey: Commitment. A really good wrestler should wrestle year-round in multiple styles like freestyle.
Buechner: Because wrestling turns boys into men and the friendships formed in the mat room can’t be compared to anything else, because no one can ever understand the struggles you face in the mat room and on the mat other than another wrestler. “Wrestlers are a different breed” – Coach Newman.
Johnson: Because it’s what I love to do.
Robey: It truly is one of the hardest sports you can undertake both physically and mentally.