A couple of matches determined the outcome in several close wrestling matches for South Whidbey.
This time, South Whidbey won, 39-37, at Granite Falls.
“I was surprised, just knowing how tough they were in the lower weights,” said Falcon head coach Jim Thompson.
Granite Falls won the 106, 113, 120, 126 and 132. All season, South Whidbey has not fielded a wrestler at the 106-pound weight class. But the 113 was lost in a “tough battle” by sophomore Steven Smith that set the tone for the Falcons.
Falcon sophomore Josh McElhinny was pinned in the 126, as was junior Keegan Warwick in the 132.
“I have nothing but praise for them,” Thompson said. “They’re cutting down on the mistakes.”
Then South Whidbey’s most consistent wrestler scored an overtime victory in the 132. Andy Madsen, a junior, recovered from a 5-2 deficit after the first period and scored a two-point reversal on Granite Falls’ Riley Hansen. Madsen went for his favorite move, the country boy, and the match seemed like it was over.
“Once he had locked that thing up, I thought he was going to pin,” Thompson said.
But Hansen escaped. Madsen was called for stalling and the match went into an extra period where Madsen was able to score a takedown and win, 7-5.
South Whidbey switched its lineup, bumping junior Kyrell Broyles down to 145 and moving freshman Madison Evans up to the 150. Broyles secured a pin against Josh Myers-Dean in the third period. Evans was pinned early in the third period.
Falcon senior James Itaya lost a major decision in the 160 to Granite Falls’ Tommy Eadie.
Losing momentum and team points, South Whidbey needed a spark. And the Falcons got it in the return of senior co-captain Jake Leonard, who was sick most of the winter break and missed several matches. Leonard pinned Mike Poyner in the 170 in the third period, which propelled South Whidbey to victory.
“He just totally dominated the kid. This was the match that won it for us,” Thompson said.
“If he just wins, we lose by one point. Those three points that he scored were huge.”
South Whidbey accepted forfeits in the 182, 195 and 220, and heavyweight Pierce Jackson pinned Drake Sanders.