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Sour end for South Whidbey wrestling season
Bitterness from a couple of referee calls lingered with South Whidbey's wrestlers and head coach three days after they were made at the state tournament.
None of South Whidbey's three wrestlers in the state 1A wrestling tournament placed in the top eight — podium spots — in their weights at the Tacoma Dome over the weekend. But one lost match left Falcon head coach Jim Thompson seething.
Having fallen to the consolation bracket on the first day of the 1A tournament, 145-pound Falcon senior Andy Madsen won a loser-out match only to face an even higher stakes match. Should he win, he finishes no worse than eighth place — a spot on the podium and a medal recipient. Lose, and he's out.
And that crucial contest was decided, Thompson said, by a referee. Madsen was whistled for stalling, a one-point penalty assessed when a wrestler does not engage or attempt to pin the opponent, against Warden junior Emilio Pruneda in the second period. Thompson said he let the first call go without complaint, though he disagreed with it.
“I didn't make a big deal of it, but the kid never really did anything,” Thompson said. “He was on his hips.”
With Madsen still leading, Pruneda scored a takedown. Trying to escape, Madsen dragged them out of bounds. Then came the second stalling call, and Thompson took flight in the referee's direction.
“I flew out of the chair,” Thompson said.
“You can't explain how bad the call was without sounding like a whiner. It was just a horrible call.”
Starting in the down position with little time left, Pruneda held on for a 6-5 victory and advanced to the second day of the tournament. Pruneda ended up placing third with two victories Saturday.
“There goes Andy's season,” Thompson said.
Later he added: “It was a horrible way to end a season for a kid who worked hard all year and should have placed at state. He deserved to place at state.”
Kyrell Broyles, also a senior in the 145-pound class, saw a pair of state-ranked opponents in his first two matches. Despite his goal to win at least one match and surpass his older brother's mark at the state wrestling tournament, Broyles lost both bouts. But Broyles' story, according to his coach, was more than going two-and-out.
“Those results didn't necessarily tell the true story,” Thompson said.
In the first-round match, Broyles barely lost to second-ranked Quincy senior Isias Jimenez, 9-6.
“When that kid came off the mat, he didn't even want to shake our hands,” Thompson said, adding that escaping with a victory took all the graciousness out of Jimenez.
Fighting to stay in the tournament, Broyles took on seventh-ranked Stephen Spading, a senior at Kalama High School. At one point in the match, Broyles had Spading on his back and tried to get his shoulders to the mat for a pin that would end the match. But Spading fought for nearly 30 seconds, Thompson said, and avoided the fall.
Leading 7-4, Broyles allowed five consecutive points on a one-point escape, a two-point reverse and a two-point near fall to Spading, who won 9-7. Spading won his next two matches, before losing to fourth-place Zillah senior Cristian Francisco, to finish in sixth place.
Pierce Jackson, a Falcon junior in his first state tournament, lost the opening two matches and was eliminated from the tournament by Friday night.
Jackson had the difficult task of taking on fourth-ranked Chewelah senior Dustin Olson in the first round. Olson pinned Jackson in the first period in 1:25.
The loss pitted Jackson against 10th-ranked Matt MacDonald, a junior at Ilwaco High School. Neither wrestler put up much of a fight, as the match was won by MacDonald on a pair of penalty calls, 2-0. MacDonald lost the following match 2-0 to Forks senior Jake Claussen.
The Granger Spartans won the team title. None of the individual champions was from District 1, the district South Whidbey belongs to along with schools from the Northwest Conference.