South Whidbey shocks Sultan with Cascade Conference win

In just the second of two home matches, the Falcon wrestling team put on an outstanding performance Wednesday, upsetting Sultan 66-15 and moving into second place in the Cascade Conference.

And they did it in style — from a nice senior moment for Keith Ryder to a smashing victory pin for Jordan Broyles in the third round after being behind on points.

“It was pretty incredible,” said Falcon Coach Jim Thompson. “A great deal of really hard work the past two weeks went into making this night happen. Sultan’s coach was devastated.”

As well he might be as one unheralded young Falcon grappler after another took center stage and beat the living...well, you get the idea.

In the 103-pound weight class, Kurt Warwick accepted the six-point forfeit. James Schorr (119) pinned his man in the second round, Caleb Nierson (130) surprised himself, his coach, Sultan and the crowd by pinning in the second.

Ben Morgan (140) won on a fall. At 145 pounds, Broyles faced an aggressive Turk but didn’t give up and threw his man down in a quick reversal in the third round.

Trevor Romeo pinned in the third as well.

Heavyweights Darrin Britton (215) and Trapper Rawls (275) sent a couple Turks downtown in the first round but primary honors go to “Easy” Ryder (171) for taking Mark Hendrickton down in only 28 seconds.

Honored as the team’s lone graduating senior, Ryder had presented his mother with a bouquet of flowers under the signature single light used for wrestling matches.

“This is insane,” Ryder said when it was all over. “I feel pretty good right now and very proud to have helped the team.”

He was a little surprised the match went so fast.

“He wasn’t as aggressive as he might have been,” Ryder said.

Parents Lea and Steve Ryder enjoyed themselves as well. “We were thrilled to see him win in the first round on his special night,” his mother said.

For their efforts in not losing a single match during the regular season, Morgan, Britton and freshmen Broyles and Rawls won the singular honor of being named conference champions.

Rawls, the only freshman grappler at both varsity and tournament meets this year, had a few problems on the mat. “My guy was short but very strong. He was low to the ground and it was hard to shoot in and grab his legs.”

During practice, wrestlers work on a technique called bridging.

“When I’m on my back I arch my stomach like a bridge to try and throw the other guy off,” Broyles said. “That’s how I broke the hold; by the third round, he was tired and I wasn’t.”

Morgan noted coaches Thompson and Paul Newman helped the team fine-tune since the original conference meet was cancelled from a bomb scare.

“As a result I was focused. Plus I didn’t want to let the team down,” Morgan said.

On Feb. 1, South Whidbey joins Cedarcrest, Lynnwood and Shorecrest at WESCO to determine who qualifies for sub-regionals.

Regardless the outcome, Thompson is pleased and proud of his young team’s progress.

“We will be the team to beat next year,” the coach said.

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