Postseason matches are only a few weeks away, and the South Whidbey wrestling team got a good look at its upcoming competition.
Wrestling in the Sgt. Justin Norton Memorial tournament at Rainier High School on Saturday, South Whidbey finished in 10th place out of 16 teams. It broke the streak of top-three finishes by the Falcons in each of the three tournaments, but head coach Jim Thompson hopes it sent an important message to wrestlers.
“These are the guys you gotta beat to get to state,” he said.
After a dual meet two days earlier against Sultan, Thompson was upset with the way many of the Falcons wrestled. They struggled with escaping, keeping their weight low and finishing a takedown. There were a few matches in that showdown where South Whidbey’s wrestlers failed to score a point. Against myriad opponents, many ranked in their WIAA classifications by washingtonwrestlingreport.com, the Falcons rose up and won at least one match.
“I was OK because I didn’t have anybody go two and out, which was pretty nice,” Thompson said of the Norton Memorial, later adding that the Falcons had plenty of improvement ahead of them, including escaping holds. “Guys were getting ridden out for close to two periods.”
South Whidbey’s top finisher was senior Jose Chavez in the 182. In the first round, he defeated Kalama sophomore Spencer Richardson with a pin in 40 seconds. After a second-round bye, Chavez was defeated 5-1 by Castle Rock senior Chase Lam. Chavez won his final bout in the consolation bracket 10-5 against Kalama sophomore Carl Hausserman.
Four other South Whidbey wrestlers finished in fifth place, including a bout in the 160-pound class that pitted Falcon against Falcon. Seniors Kyrell Broyles, the team’s varsity 160-pound wrestler, and James Itaya battled in the consolation bracket. In a bit of an upset, Itaya emerged with a 4-3 victory over Broyles from what was a light-hearted match between friends.
“We were just joking around and laughing,” Itaya said of grappling with Broyles, only the second time they have faced off in a match.
Trevor Miller, a Falcon junior, benefited from a smaller field in the 220-pound class to a fifth-place finish. He quickly pinned Tenino’s Riley Noonan in 39 seconds. The second match proved more difficult, as Miller faced Rochester junior Matt Shields, ranked sixth in 1A. Thompson said Miller had a shot at finishing a takedown, but was rolled and pinned by Shields in 5:02.
Two Falcons battled not only other wrestlers, but illnesses as well. Andy Madsen, a 152-pound senior, recovered from a first-round loss, one of only a handful this season, to claim fifth place.
Calvin Shimada worked his way through the 170 consolation bracket after he was pinned in the first round. He pinned three opponents before being pinned in the third/fifth-place match by Port Townsend’s Jeff Seton.
South Whidbey hosts Granite Falls on Thursday night in the Falcons’ final home meet of the season. The Falcons will honor all of the team’s seniors before the matches begin.