South Whidbey’s wrestlers had a bit of it all at its only home match of the season this past week.
Some had pins, others took their lumps. All were opportunities to learn and grow in the eyes of first-year head coach Robbie Bozin.
The Falcons hosted three schools from the Cascade Conference – Granite Falls, Cedarcrest and Archbishop Murphy – Jan. 25 at Erickson Gymnasium. South Whidbey lost to Cedarcrest 60-30 but beat Archbishop Murphy 42-39 to finish 1-1.
Micah Tarantino, 152 pounds, was recognized prior to the meet as the only senior on the team. He was pinned by Cedarcrest’s Curtis Nelson, but bounced back in his second match against Archbishop Murphy’s Dennis Walle with a first period pin.
Bozin said he was glad to see Tarantino earn a pin in his final home match in front of a large gathering of fellow students, parents and community members.
“I thought the crowd was great,” Bozin said.
Earning at least one victory in the two matches were freshmen Soren Bratrude (113 pounds), Drew Apohshyan (120), sophomore Dylan Davis (195), junior Clay O’Brien (182) and Tarantino (152).
It didn’t take long for Apohshyan to get things rolling against Cedarcrest freshman Landon Hearing.
Apohshyan took Hearing down in the first few seconds of the match and disrupted his opponents’ attempts to escape from the bottom position. Apohshyan elected to stay on his feet in the second period rather than choosing to start in the bottom or top positions. He proceeded to take Hearing down for a second time just a few seconds later.
“I feel more comfortable on my feet,” Apohshyan said. “…I’ve been working on being more aggressive generally in my wrestling. I came into this season too nice, not necessarily to the person but in my wrestling.”
Apohshyan pinned Hearing just a minute into the second period using a half nelson.
“I think it went pretty well,” Apohshyan said. “One of the things I’m always working on is keeping pressure on top. I think I did a much better job that match than I have before.”
“I’m surprised about how many people showed up. Our school isn’t really a wrestling school, but it’s really nice,” he added.
Other Falcons were pinned themselves.
Sophomore Nicole Helseth trailed her Cedarcrest opponent 7-6 in a 130-pound exhibition before losing by fall in the second period. The first-year wrestler and daughter of former head coach and now assistant coach Wes Helseth said she’s still learning the ropes of the sport.
“It wasn’t my best match,” Nicole Helseth said. “I have room for improvement for basing up and stuff, but everybody does. I got to work on my points that I messed up on and hopefully bring a better match next time.”
Helseth is one of three girls on the team.
“I’m really liking it,” Helseth said. “It’s fun and a very challenging sport, which I enjoy.”
Junior 160-pounder Alex Turner took his defeat to Cedarcrest’s Matthew Weinert in stride.
“You take lumps,” Turner said. “That’s what wrestling is. You win some, you lose some.”
“All this is preparation for districts. That’s what I’m getting ready for,” he added.
Bozin said wins and losses don’t matter to him. It’s about effort.
“I don’t care win or lose, as long as you go out there and wrestle tough and you can take some positive away,” Bozin said. “I’m always looking at the positives and what we need to work on.”
The Falcons took fourth out of nine teams at the Cascade Conference Tournament Jan. 27 at Granite Falls High School. Four wrestlers placed: Bratrude (1st, 113), Apohshyan (2nd, 120), freshman Caleb McArthur (2nd, 132) and O’Brien (3rd, 182).
South Whidbey’s boys and girls teams are wrestling in the regional qualifying District 1 tournaments on Saturday. Feb. 3 at Sultan and Bellingham high schools, respectively.