Facing stiff competition from 30 teams, South Whidbey wrestling was consoled by a 12th-place finish.
As the Falcons had all season, there were moments, moves and decisions that could have put South Whidbey in the top 10 to be second guessed. Still, Falcon head coach Jim Thompson put his wrestlers’ standing in context of their competition and his overall goal to get the Falcons mat time and experience.
“If we wanted to see really good 1A teams, we got to see them,” Thompson said.
Teams like Chelan, Castle Rock, Kiona Benton and Cascade Christian attended the major wrestling tournament. Each has at least two 1A ranked wrestlers. Against the stiff competition, Falcon senior Pat Monell emerged as South Whidbey’s top individual wrestler. Monell placed third in the 220 after pinning Castle Rock junior Dale Atchley, beating Rainier sophomore Clayton Cday 6-2 and pinning Rochester’s Matt Shields. Monell’s only blemish was being pinned by the 220 champion Asa Schwartz, a junior at Chelan High School, who is ranked second among 1A 220-pound wrestlers.
“He’s only getting beat by kids that are top two in the state, so I’m feeling good about where he’s at,” Thompson said.
South Whidbey fielded three other top-five wrestlers. Andy Madsen won his first match against Castle Rock junior Clayton Crayne, 8-0. In the second round, Madsen lost 7-2 to Rainier senior Bryton Mede.
Knocked to the consolation bracket, Madsen pinned Cascade Christian’s Tucker Hanson and beat Lake Roosevelt senior Skye Gooler, 3-0. Madsen lost in the final match to Bellevue Christian senior Cameron Thoreson, whom Madsen pinned the previous weekend. After two periods, Madsen led 3-2 and started in the down position, but he was turned and lost 5-3. Split-second lapses have cost South Whidbey the difference between standing on the podium and going home with nothing but regret this season.
“They’re making a couple mistakes here and there that are costing them still,” Thompson said.
Falcon junior Kyrell Broyles fought his way to fifth place from the consolation bracket after his first-round bout dropped him there. Facing elimination, Broyles quickly pinned Bellevue Christian sophomore Matt Philipovich. He then faced teammate Tyler Russell and scored a pin in 3:44. Broyles was dropped 15-3 by Kiona Benton senior Kale Setzer, the fifth-ranked 145-pound wrestler in 1A.
Falcon sophomore Pierce Jackson secured his fifth-place heavyweight finish in the consolation bracket. After being pinned in the first round, Jackson scored two pins of his own to advance to the consolation semifinal. Vashon Island’s Louis Jovanovich won, 8-0. Jovanovich is the seventh-ranked heavyweight in 1A.
“There’s a couple guys right there that made a couple bum mistakes that cost them,” Thompson said.
South Whidbey hosts Cedarcrest for the Falcons’ senior night Thursday. Cedarcrest has long been a wrestling powerhouse in the Cascade Conference, but a recent loss to Archbishop Murphy had Thompson questioning the Red Wolves’ talents.
“I’m excited about Cedarcrest, I don’t know what they have,” he said.