Behind the eight ball with two injured wrestlers, lingering stomach illnesses and only seven bodies to put on the mat, South Whidbey’s wrestlers still got a few coaches talking at a multi-class tournament Saturday.
Grappling with athletes from 3A and 4A schools, a team of seven Falcons managed sixth place in a 12-team tournament on Bainbridge Island. Though it was not the team’s best placing at a tournament this year, it was better than they might have expected, considering the circumstances. Robbed of some certain points when Conley White had to withdraw early from the 119-pound class due to an injury and when Chris Martin came up lame after winning his first-round match at 215 pounds, the Falcons had little hope of coming up with the points needed to win the tournament. Fortunately, a team victory was not on their coach’s mind.
“We weren’t there for placing,” said Coach Mike Crebbin. “We were just looking for competition.”
That was something they did get, for the most part. In the day’s 103-pound draw, sophomore Phil Schorr again showed himself to be one of the team’s more persistent grapplers. About five pounds under the weight class limit, the team’s smallest wrestler was still able to earn a third-place medal in the tournament bracket by compiling three wins in four tries over the course of the day. Taking similar paths in their own weight classes, Chris Long, Ben Harris, and Andy Wills also won third-place matches, each defeating opponents from bigger schools along the way.
The only Falcon who breezed through the tournament without a hitch was Brandon Hern. Undefeated coming into Saturday’s bouts, he left that way as well. In a final against a Port Townsend wrestler considered to be one of the best in the state at 189 pounds, Hern won easily, pinning his opponent in the first round.
Hern’s dominance won him the Wrestler of the Meet title and the continuing amazement of his coach, who expects to see the sen-ior atop the state podium later this season.
“He got rid of any of my fears,” Crebbin said.
Next up for the team is a dual meet at Sultan High School on Thursday.