In a meet that was almost over before it began Thursday, South Whidbey wrestlers pinned three straight opponents to start the event and cruised to a 52-21 win over Granite Falls.
In a contest full of forfeits — which is not an unusual situation as wrestlers around the state are hitting their 29-bout, regular season limit — the Falcons finished off the Tigers in about 20 minutes at Erikson Gymnasium. After watching junior Zac Bartell win a late, 160-pound junior varsity match by a fall and freshman Falcon Matt Shea lose a lopsided 140-pound varsity match, South Whidbey wrestling fans wound themselves into a frenzy as Chris Long, Sean Noste and Andy Wills pinned their opponents in consecutive bouts.
Against the Tiger’s D.J. Chamberlain, Long, a 145-pounder, was the only class on the mat. On top from the first moment the two wrestlers made contact, Long cradled Chamberlain at 1:44 in the first round to score a decisive fall.
Noste’s match at 152 pounds didn’t last much longer. Though he struggled early to control an energetic opponent, Noste used his legs to put a submission hold on Granite Falls’ John Rutherford and tire him to the point where he could no longer keep his shoulders on the mat. The match was over in 1:53.
Thoroughly whipped up, the hometown crowd got behind junior Andy Wills, who had a challenge at 160 pounds. Frustrated through the first round by the Tigers’ Ryan Bennett, who stayed clear of Wills’ holding strength on the mat, Wills corralled his opponent 32 seconds into the second period to record the fall.
The Falcons’ only other win on the mat came from Conley White, who had to work longer to beat Granite’s Niel Hallo. After a slow first round, White outpointed Hallo 13-3 for the major decision.
“He just tore that guy up,” said Falcon Coach Mike Crebbin.
After the meet was over, the Tigers’ coach made an unusual move and asked that Falcon senior Brandon Hern wrestle an exhibition match against a Granite Falls 189-pounder. Hern won the bout on a second-round pin.
Next up for the Falcons is the North Cascades Conference tournament on Feb. 1 and 2 in Blaine.