Being only a second-year wrestler, Falcon senior Cameron Schille has come a long way in honing his skills.
At the Lynnwood Classic on Saturday, Schille was the second-highest seeded wrestler in the 138-pound weight class.
After a first-round bye, Schille wrestled true to his placement, defeating his first opponent of the day, Tysen Campell of Granite Falls, by a 13-5 major-decision.
Schille’s semi-finals matchup was against the third-seeded wrestler, Lynnwood’s Jake Latimer. Schille pinned Latimer with 1 minute and 43 seconds left in the second period, advancing to the finals match, his first-ever appearance competing for an individual title.
“I was really excited because I had never been in a finals,” said Schille. “I’m doing a lot better this year.”
A lot has happened since he first entered the daunting blood-and-sweat filled mat room where the Falcons practice day in and day out. A year ago, Schille placed sixth at the regional tournament, finishing his junior campaign as a state-alternate.
Also the team’s co-captain, Schille draws a higher seed at tournaments being a state-alternate last year, meaning he generally faces easier opponents early on and meet the tougher and more drawn-out wrestlers the further he advances.
In the championship, Schille lost to state-alternate and returning tournament champion Dustin Diemond from Meadowdale High School. Diemond pinned Schille with just over 40 seconds remaining.
“He has been wrestling for six years; he’s good,” Schille said. “We were about the same strength level but technique wise he was a little bit better.”
Falcon head coach Jim Thompson was proud of Schille for making his very first finals matchup.
“He made the finals and it’s really neat,” Thompson said. “I’m really proud of him. He’s finally down to his normal weight of 138 pounds and he’s doing well.”
Other Falcon wrestlers that reached the semi-finals in the tournament were sophomore Andy Madsen (138), senior Montana Johnson and senior Avery Buechner. All three lost to the eventual champions of their respective weight classes. Buechner and Madsen both finished third, while Johnson finished fifth.
Buechner pinned his first opponent in just under 1 minute.
After losing to Roosevelt’s Garrett Mack, Buechner battled back. He defeated Bridgen Hayashi from Roosevelt with a 10-1 major decision.
In the third and fourth-place bout, Buechner beat Joe Stoutt of Eastside Catholic 3-0.
Madsen was pinned by Diemond, who later defeated Schille in the finals. He turned the tide by pinning Charlie Ronan of Bishop Blanchet.
Finishing fifth along with Johnson were seniors Steven Smith (145) and Jeremiah Robey. James Itaya placed sixth.
Despite several placers, the Falcons only finished eighth out of 10 teams, in Thompson’s eyes that really didn’t matter.
“My thought is that I’m overjoyed with kids getting lots of matches and first-year wrestlers placing in tournaments,” Thompson said. “Just like Cameron, when kids are down to their normal weights they start placing in tournaments.”
The Falcons will continue to practice throughout Winter Break until they face the Lakewood Cougars on Friday Jan. 6, then the following day the Falcons travel to Puyallup to wrestle a ranked 1A Cascade-Christian squad.