Mercer Island wrestlers take seventh at state tournament

The Mercer Island wrestling team finished seventh at the 3A Mat Classic state tournament over the weekend. The Islanders had 59 points, with Enumclaw earning 126 to be the team champions.

The team finished the 2011 tournament in ninth place.

Senior Blake Johnson capped his career with a state title, winning the 160 weight group. He beat Decatur’s Nick Karis in the championship match 5-3.

"He was elated, and so were we," said head coach Creighton Laughary. "He put in so much work these last four year and most coaches would probably agree that was the toughest weight class of the tournament."

Johnson is the first title winner under Laughary as a head coach, and the first in the last 10 years. The last individual winner for Mercer Island was Ben Madhavi in 1998, who won the 275 weight division.

Senior Phil Frazier took second overall in the 182 bracket, falling in the championship match 8-0 to Glacier Peak’s Sean Elledge.

"I know it was disappointing to him, but as coaches we were impressed," said Laughary. He said Frazier, during a meet in early January, wrestling Elledge, dislocated his knee, and had battled the injury ever since.

"He had not had two consecutive days of wrestling, but he was on the elliptical and in the pool," said Laughary. "To come back from that at state and to wrestle the same kid. He was beating him, early one, but the rigors of the two day tournament, he just didn't have enough knee. It took such courage for him to get that far."

Freshman Luke Wilson, competing in his first Mat Classic, finished in fifth place in the 106 weight bracket. He beat Dean Reginio of Timberline 6-5 in their final match.

"We were impressed," said Laughary of Wilson's debut at the state meet. "I don't know the records or anything, but he's probably the best freshman we've had since I've been here." Laughary said Wilson's only losses in the tournament came during matches against much older students with a lot of experience.

Nick Chandler, competing in the 170 bracket, lost his first match to Bainbridge’s Connor Kenyon on Friday, but beat Jacob Evens of Wilson High School in the consolation bracket, before falling to Lake Washington’s Yaroslav Petrechko by fall after 4:10 minutes.

"Both of the matches he lost were to eventual placers," said Laughary of Chandler's performance. "We felt like he is a top 10 guy, but the only give medals to the top eight. It's going to be great to have him back next season."

Brian Rauzi also joined the team as an alternate in the 170 weight class.


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