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Wrestlers take down Metro’s best
Mercer Island beats O’Dea and Inglemoor, dominates Sammamish 78-3
By Matt Phelps
Mercer Island Reporter
The Islanders’ wrestling meet against Sammamish lasted a little over a half an hour as they dominated 78-3 in one of the most lopsided victories for the program during the past decade.
But it was the team’s performance against 3A O’Dea and 4A Inglemoor during a double-duel meet, Wednesday, that put all of their future opponents on notice.
“[Inglemoor and O’Dea] are always strong,” said Mercer Island head coach Creighton Laughary. “It was a good way to start the season.”
The team’s 3-0 record did not come in close contests either. Mercer Island beat perennial district competitor, O’Dea, 63-16. In contrast, 3A KingCo rival Mount Si wrestled O’Dea on the same night and lost 37-27.
“Our team chemistry has been really good,” said Tanner Linton. “It was nice to finally wrestle someone from another school, and we just unleashed it.”
Against Inglemoor, the Islanders won 48-30, thanks to two forfeits and six pins. During the three contests, Mercer Island picked up 15 forfeits overall, thanks to 27 new wrestlers on the team this season.
“We filled almost every spot we had,” said Laughary. “But the biggest benefit is in practice ’cause they all have partners near their own weight.”
The competition for mat time is also sparking a rejuvenated spirit.
“I have really been impressed with the younger kids,” said Laughary. “They are keeping their heads in the season even if they are second of third string guys.”
But if the points didn’t come via forfeit, they came with the slap of the referee’s hand on the mat.
Against O’Dea, Mercer Island received pins from Kyle Shanafelt at 103 pounds (1:05), David Bowman at 135 (5:26), Davin Kunovsky at 140 (1:58), Andrew Meade at 145 (1:12), Chris Pothoven at 215 (0:36) and heavy weight Linton (0:44). Islander Graham Horgdal won 10-6 at 189 pounds to round out the scoring.
“It has shown on the scoreboard how well we have wrestled,” said senior Alex Faith, who won via pin fall at 125 pounds during the second round against both Sammamish and Inglemoor.
“We didn’t have the same attitude last year,” said Faith. “This year we know we can beat anyone.”
The 18-point victory against Inglemoor was not only shocking, but the six pins bodes well for the team’s tournaments as it was the second match of the night for most of the wrestlers.
Kashima (1:55), Bowman (0:58), Kunovsky (1:01) and Linton (2:56) all picked up a second pin during the double duel, while Austin Frazier earned his first of the season at 152-pounds with just 20 seconds remaining in the match.
The dominating victory over Sammamish might have been a cake walk, but it still counts toward the teams’ in-league records. Four of the five matches contested went to the Islanders by way of pin fall. Along with Faith, Kashima (1:05), Meade (2:20) and Frazier (2:38) all earned their second pins of the year. Pothoven took a rare KingCo loss against his Sammamish opponent 7-6, preventing the shutout.
Mercer Island will travel to Skyline for a 7:30 p.m. match Thursday against the Spartans.
“We need to work hard on conditioning,” said Linton. “We have to have high expectations of all the schools that we compete against.”