LANGLEY — In their first home match of the season before an enthusiastic crowd, the South Whidbey wrestling team demonstrated their prowess on the mat. Big time.
The team overcame the Sultan Turks 42-27 with five individual wins and two losses.
The Falcons Colton Vaughn (112-pound weight class) stunned Turk Garett Burnell with a decisive pin in overtime after a sluggish start.
Aaron Mannie (152) pinned David Huckabo in the first round. James Schorr (160), wrestling up one class, battled Sultan’s undefeated fifth-rank grappler Mikey Barnell to a 4-3 victory. Darrin Britton (215) pinned his opponent in the second round and heavyweight Trapper Rawls (285) demolished Ben Schilling in the first.
“I can’t tell you how proud Paul (Newman, assistant coach) and I are of these guys,” Falcon coach Jim Thompson said. “There were no real surprises although I thought Trevor Romero could have taken his man. He just had an off night.”
Before the match, Thompson helped the 130 fans get in the mood with an unusual first act.
“There are three two-minute periods plus a one-minute overtime if necessary,” he explained. Junior varsity grapplers Zeke Spalding and Daniel Childers demonstrated a takedown (two points), reversal (two points), escape (one point), pin and a three-count man on his back for three points.
Then the lights in Erikson Gym dimmed, the special spotlight over the mat came on and the team raced in to a hard rock beat. The crowd loved it, especially those not familiar with the spectacle of high school wrestling, Falcon style.
Due to the new weight rules, both teams had to forfeit six points per weight class, five for 30 points in South Whidbey’s case.
Vaughn started out slow.
“I expected him to put his guy down quickly but he just couldn’t get him over,” Thompson said.
But in overtime, Vaughn executed a surprise reversal and pinned his man within 14 seconds.
Mannie had little trouble in his match against a wrestler new to the sport.
“I kept looking at the coach to see what he wanted,” Mannie said. “He gave me the signal to pin him and get it over with.”
Schorr had the toughest match of the night.
“Sultan’s Barnell is on a march to the Mat Classic in Tacoma and clearly didn’t expect to lose,” Thompson noted.
Schorr had two reversals and managed to stay the course.
“I just knew I wanted to beat him, to do whatever it took,” Schorr said. “He was very good, strong and with excellent technique.”
Britton seemed to be having problems at first, but managed a takedown as the second period began.
Rawls said his opponent was wired tight.
“I had to keep my calm because he was really hyper,” Rawls recalled. “I didn’t want to wrestle at his level; all of us know we have to focus on the things we’ve learned and execute just right.”
The entire team agreed that having a big turnout was important.
“We just want to thank all the fans for showing up and cheering for us and hope to see them all at the next home match against Lakewood,” Schorr said.
At 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22 the Falcons welcome the Cougars in the final home match of the season.
Jeff VanDerford can be reached at 221-5300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.