No doubt about it, when it comes to high drama, the South Whidbey wrestling team definitely has its act together.
Thursday night, as a hard-driving rock beat thumped from the sound system, the team ran into a darkened Erikson Gym so fast they set up an artificial wind that ruffled the hair of the Granite Falls Tigers.
Before the night was over, the Tigers got more than their hair tussled. The Falcons beat Granite Falls 54-28 and are now 4-0 in dual meets, well on their way to the school’s first-ever conference championship.
“Winning is our goal and it is attainable,” Falcons Coach Jim Thompson said. “I was especially proud of the guys tonight; they wrestled hard, gave no quarter and put on a great show for the fans.”
The pre-match warm-up routine may be a Falcon tradition but it never gets old.
For the record, an amazing nine athletes pinned their opponents: Colton Vaughn (103-pound weight class), Vincent Messina (119), Brett Warwick (130), Aaron Mannie (135), James Schorr (140), Ben Morgen (145), Matt Long (152), Jorge Flores (160) and Trapper Rawls (285). Fortunately, they only had to forfeit one weight class (125 pounds), losing six points.
Coach Tony Helgeson graciously congratulated Thompson after the match.
“He told me my middle weight kids (130 to 152-pounds) were very tough,” the Falcon coach said.
Thompson was really happy with senior Jorge Flores’ performance. “It was his first match and first win; I’m looking to him to do even more before the season’s over.”
Messina, a sophomore, has a reputation on the team for being a bit cocky. He pinned his man in the third round, but it wasn’t easy and he felt it the next morning.
“I’m a little sore today,” he said. “The Granite Falls guy was getting tired so by the third I applied a half-Nelson, then stuck and pinned him.
“It’s fun to beat up another guy and not get in trouble for it. Instead the ref raises your arm and says you’re the winner. No one can take that away,” Messina said.
Long, who typically pins in the first round, didn’t feel he was at the top of his game — but he had a good reason. “After school I was 3.7 pounds overweight so I had to go to the gym to work it off and my energy level was way down,” he said.
“My guy was pretty aggressive but not too experienced, and I was able to pull a couple reversals and pin him about a minute into the second round.”
There are two more chances to catch the wrestlers in action — on Jan. 18 against Archbishop Murphy and a storm-delayed match opposite Cedarcrest in the final home match on Jan. 31. When the Falcons face the Red Wolves that night, the team will also recognize and celebrate their seniors.
Jeff VanDerford can be reached at 221-5300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.