Falcon wrestlers find winning and losing painful

Two days of wrestling and now, with the conference tournament looming, the Falcon boys are looking like the walking wounded.

At least they won a few bouts to compensate themselves for the pain.

Last Thursday, the Falcons travelled to Nooksack Valley High School to take on the Pioneers and Meridian in a double dual meet made up after a postponement earlier this season. Then, on Saturday, the boys headed back north, this time to the home of the Trojans for the Great North Invitational.

Of the two meets, the invitational brought the South Whidbey boys more glory, as they placed fourth of 16 teams. But even as senior Ben Harris won the 171-pound championship and teammates Conley White and Jason Mannie also made it to championship bouts, injuries were taking the Falcons out of the fight. With just a week remaining before the North Cascades Conference championship, Mannie bowed out of his 140-pound championship bout with a sprained ankle and junior Tyler Rueth called it a day before beginning a fourth-fifth place bout at 119 pounds due to a sprained neck.

Some of the hurt may have stemmed from the double dual two days earlier, in which the Falcons took punishing losses from both Meridian and Nooksack. Against the Trojans, South Whidbey nearly had what it took, falling 33-25 largely due to losses in the heavier weights and a forfeit at 119 pounds. Winners on the night were senior Phil Schorr at 112 pounds, Ben Morgan at 125, White at 140, Nick Martinovic at 152 and Harris at 171.

Against the Pioneers, South Whidbey was never close. Though Schorr, White and 189-pounder Jason Gilberts all took victories by fall, their wins represented most of the Falcons’ points in a 47-27 loss. Also taking a bout for the team was Long, who outpointed Meridian’s Tom Wing 7-4.

Wrestling the bout of the week was Harris at the Meridian tournament. After cruising through his first three bouts, Harris met Cody Leifiet of Ferndale in the 171-pound final. Coming into the meet, Leifiet was the second-ranked 3A wrestler in his class in the state. Against Harris, he represented some of the best competition the Falcon senior has seen all year.

Yet like everyone else Harris has faced this season, Leifiet quickly found himself shoulders down on the mat, taking a fall just over a minute into the second round.

Harris’ coach, Wes Helseth, was thrilled with the result.

“He wrestled his match and wound up sticking him,” he said.

Other South Whidbey placers at the meet were Schorr, who won a 112-pound consolation match to take third; and Rueth, who was fifth at 119.

This week, the Falcons are concentrating on getting healthy. With three wrestlers with performance-threatening injuries — Reuth, Mannie and senior Eric Flister — the team is going into Friday’s NCC championship tournament at a disadvantage. Helseth said his wrestlers will spend the week healing and trying to ward off fatigue.

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