Ninth place left a lot to be desired for the South Whidbey wrestling team at the Cascade Christian tournament Jan. 5.
A few Falcons’ bright spots cushioned the team’s low finish. Pat Monell, a senior, had the highest honors as a second-place wrestler, followed by juniors Andy Madsen and Kyrell Broyles, who each finished in third place.
“They’re just getting beat by better, stronger wrestlers,” said Falcon head coach Jim Thompson.
“Every kid just put it out.”
The Cascade Christian tournament fielded a range of schools from 1A squads like South Whidbey to 4A powerhouses like Puyallup. One of the stranger notes from the event was that none of the 12 teams had a wrestler in the 106-pound division.
As they have all season, the Falcons did not have a wrestler in some weights. This time, the Falcons did not enter at 106, 113, 195 or 285 (heavyweight). Against some of the larger schools, South Whidbey struggled.
Monell faced Puyallup junior Matt Voss, Washington’s top ranked 4A wrestler in the 220-pound division. Voss won 5-0 - Monell’s only loss at the tournament against three pins.
“The kid Pat wrestled at 220 was just huge,” Thompson said. “He had tree-trunk legs on him.”
Broyles, a junior, tied for third place in the 145. Broyles pinned his first two opponents, Cascade Christian’s Alex Bostwick and Foster’s Trevor Farris. Puyallup’s Brad Colkitt dropped Broyles to the consolation bracket with a 12-6 victory, which pitted Broyles against his teammate Tyler Russell. Broyles won the battle 14-5, and Russell finished in fifth place.
“We’re wrestling a lot more solidly, but they’re still making mistakes,” Thompson said. “But overall, the effort is fantastic.”
South Whidbey’s standout wrestler, junior Madsen, continued his string of wins in the 138. Madsen edged out Puyallup’s Tristan Cleek in the first bout, 6-5, and rebounded with an authoritative 6-0 win over Puyallup’s Noah Staley. In the semifinal match, Cascade Christian’s Josh Sayler (ranked eighth in 1A) cruised to a 14-0 victory.
“Andy looked like he was totally out of it,” Thompson said.
Once in the consolation bracket, Madsen shored up a third-place finish by pinning Cleek late in the second period.
Heading into the final three weeks of the regular season, many of South Whidbey’s wrestlers were behind with their weight loss programs. Thompson said he wanted wrestlers to drop one division (from 126 to 120, from 120 to 113, etc.). Practicing during the school’s winter break, during which South Whidbey also had four matches, kept the Falcons fit but failed to slim most of them down to their target weights.
“They’re supposed to be coming down now,” Thompson said. “Some of these kids really like to eat, they can either lose weight or not lose weight, I’m not going to force them to do that.”
South Whidbey travels to Granite Falls for a Cascade Conference dual meet Thursday, Jan. 10. Granite Falls was expected to be the top team in the league, and Thompson anticipated a tough bout with the Tigers. The Falcons have a short break before heading south for their only overnight trip of the regular season at the Rainier Classic on Saturday, Jan. 12. South Whidbey will face schools such as Rainier, Cascade Christian and Bellevue Christian.
“There are some good schools,” Thompson said.