The South Whidbey wrestling team is willing to do just about anything to improve their skills, even if it means boarding the school bus at 4:30 a.m. Saturday to make the weigh-in time at the West Seattle Invitational.
It paid off as the team came in sixth out of 19 against much larger 3A and 4A schools. When the last athlete left the mat, the Falcons had racked up 119 points (one-half point behind Highline High School).
“We were the smallest school there and weren’t given much of a chance,” said Falcons Coach Jim Thompson. “We almost came in fourth place but for a few penalty calls.”
Team co-captain Ben Morgen was the stand-out, taking the championship in the 145-pound weight class with three straight pins.
“In his final against Blake Forrest from Lynnwood, Ben was on his back when he suddenly reversed the hold and got the pin,” Thompson recalled.
“It was pure brute strength. The Lynnwood wrestler had a stunned look on his face that said, ‘What just happened to me?’”
Morgen’s record in individual matches is now 16-2.
At 103 pounds, freshman Colton Vaughn lost a heartbreaker but came in third in the semifinals in overtime.
James Schorr (140) was third, and Darrin Britton (215) also placed third after losing to the eventual champion.
Trapper Rawls (285) also took third place after losing to a “huge kid” from Kamiak High School.
It was a long day; the boys and their coaches barely made the 7:30 p.m. ferry back home.
“Saturday tournaments operate on a punishing schedule,” Thompson said. “Because officials were concerned about snow, they ran five mats or else we would have been home a lot later.”
At 7 p.m. Thursday, the Falcons welcome Archbishop Murphy to Erikson Gym, a crucial Cascade Conference match-up.
The coach noted that students who show up to root for the team have a chance to win $50 if they buy a ticket that day.