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The Mercer Island High School wrestling team was very young this season. The Islanders had no seniors and just two returning state participants from 2006. Next year the team will have no returning state participants as the Islanders were shutout at district meet held in Bellingham Saturday.
“I don’t have any regrets about the season,” said Mercer Island High School wrestling head coach Creighton Laughary. “We can’t use a lack of experience as an excuse.”
The biggest surprise of the tournament for Mercer Island was Alex Faith’s performance at 119 pounds. Faith finished sixth overall. He placed third last year at the state meet.
“I knew it would be hard going up there,” said Faith. “The entire team had a bad day. We just didn’t have any momentum.”
Islander Davin Kunovsky also took sixth place over all during the 135 pound bracket. Faith and Kunovsky were the two highest finishers for Mercer Island.
The team traveled to Bellingham Friday to avoid driving four hours before wrestling in the first round.
“We stayed in a hotel up there but a lot of us were sick,” said Faith.
Islander Tanner Linton didn’t even see the mat. Linton made it to weigh-in, but got sick just after and was forced to sit out.
“Making it to weigh, in was pretty tough for him,” said Laughary. “We just sent him home though. He was in no condition to wrestle.”
Mercer Island residents wrestle for O’Dea HS
Mercer Island residents JP Bruckner and Joe Balinbin wrestled during the district tournament for O’Dea High School and each placed in the top five in their respective weight classes. Bruckner took third overall in the 215-pound weight class to qualify for the state meet at the Tacoma Dome this Friday and Saturday. Balinbin took fourth in the 135-pound weight class to also qualify for state. The two Island residents helped to secure the O’Dea High School wrestling team’s sixth place finish during the wrestling tournament. Bruckner and Balinbin will join two other O’Dea qualifiers and an alternate at state.