A couple of close matches, both losses, bumped South Whidbey High School from the 1A state Mat Classic wrestling tournament Friday.
Hunter Newman, a Falcon sophomore, lost his first and second matches by two points Feb. 20 in Tacoma. The 132-pound grappler fell 6-4 to Naches Valley freshman Jared Navarro and 4-2 in overtime to Eatonville junior Tanner Frost.
Falcon head coach Jim Thompson was still upset over some of the calls in the tournament on Monday when he was interviewed by phone.
“The first one was two penalty points for pushing the guy out of bounds,” he said. “It’s so [expletive] bogus.”
Thompson said wrestling referees and the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association made clear that penalty points for pushing the opponent out of bounds would be enforced this year. But through all of the matches from December to the District 1 and regional tournaments, Thompson never saw the penalty enforced beyond a whistle and a reminder to the grapplers to stay in bounds. The Falcon coach also said he did not see a similar call at the Mat Classic XXVII.
“When you get to a point, there’s a lot of luck involved,” Thompson said, referring to the luck of which ref calls the match.
Both of Newman’s opponents lost in the fourth round. Thompson noted that each loss was a close match — Frost lost 8-4, Navarro 6-4.
In each bout, Newman led 2-0 in the first period and won the coin toss to decide what position he’d start from in the second period. Starting down gives the wrestler an opportunity for “easy” points by escaping or reversing. But the easy points proved mighty difficult for Newman, who Thompson said had not struggled to get out from the down position all season.
“He knows how to get out, but for some reason he couldn’t,” Thompson said. “That’s just something to work on. You can’t get ridden for two minutes.”
Against Navarro, who gained an advantage on penalties against Newman, the loss stung because the Falcon said he had the advantage.
“I definitely know I could have beat him,” Newman said. “I messed up. I made a little mistake that cost me the match.”
“Nerves got a lot to me,” he added. “I wasn’t really in the game. But that’s no excuse for how I performed.”
Facing Frost, Newman gave up a late reversal to force overtime. The bonus period would be won by the first wrestler to score points, and Newman took a shot but could not finish the move and was turned over for the takedown and the loss.
“It was frustrating,” Newman said. “It was hard to swallow that second match after I lost. It’s something to improve upon next year.”
Sultan sophomore Jamell Carroll, the 1A District 1 and Region 1 132-pound champion, finished in third place. Colville senior Tyler Ward claimed the championship with an 8-5 triple-overtime victory over Granger junior Adrian Morales.