South Whidbey wrestlers advance to Region 1 tourney

South Whidbey will send a large squad of wrestlers to the 2A Region 1 tournament next week.

Eight Falcons will advance to regionals after strong showings at the Cascade Conference sub-regional on Feb. 6.

Colton Vaughn (119-pound weight class) finished third for the Falcons at the tourney. Teammate Evan Thompson (130) also came in third, Ben Jacobson-Ross (135) took second, Van Morgen (152) finished second and Patrick Monell (152) came in fourth.

Daniel Childres (160) placed fourth, Chris Monell (171) earned second and Jack Douglas (285) finished fourth.

“I told the kids today at the beginning of practice that I thought we all wrestled really, really well,” said Falcon coach Jim Thompson. “Nobody gave up. They really wrestled hard.”

Though Thompson had earlier hoped that six Falcons would advance — and eight actually did — the number might have been higher.

“We lost five matches that we should have won,” Thompson said.

He said the Falcons were winning in other matches but didn’t finish. One match had a Falcon wrestler up 11-0 before being pinned.

“You’ve got to finish matches […] you can’t give them away. When you’re ahead you’ve got to finish them,” he said.

Thompson said the Falcons wrestled with a lot of heart. Morgen was a case in point.

“Van Morgen was ahead comfortably at 152 and we found out that he had a broken hand,” Thompson said, adding that Morgen competed in two more matches after the injury.

“He showed a lot of intestinal fortitude,” Thompson said, adding that, although Morgen has qualified to advance, his injury will prevent him from continuing.

South Whidbey faced familiar foes at the tourney, mostly Cedarcrest and Sultan.

The Red Wolves won the team title with 318 points, while Sultan claimed second place with 248. Granite Falls took third place with 189, followed by Archbishop Murphy (152), South Whidbey (149) and Lakewood (121).

Thompson would not mince words for the challenge of Whidbey’s great eight at the upcoming Region 1 tournament.

“Regionals will be very, very tough,” Thompson said, looking ahead to the 2A test that includes traditional powerhouses such as Blaine and Burlington-Edison.

“The Northwest Conference is very tough; you’ve got some big-time wrestling schools up there,” he said. “It’s not going to be easy.”

“There’s no doubt. You just tell the kids flat-out it’s going to be a tough day on Saturday. You can’t sugar-coat it.”

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