MIHS wrestles with the future

Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter Islander Sam Bliss is taken off his feet during his match against Newport. Despite holding a 12-5 lead, Bliss lost a rare match in a last-second pin. -
Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter Islander Sam Bliss is taken off his feet during his match against Newport. Despite holding a 12-5 lead, Bliss lost a rare match in a last-second pin.
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Mat lessons for Islanders

By Matt Phelps
Mercer Island Reporter

The fact that the final home wrestling meet for Mercer Island began by celebrating the middle school championship speaks volumes about where the program is and where it is going. Final meets of the year are traditionally reserved to recognize the seniors on the team — but this season there is not a single senior on the roster.

The Islanders won the meet against Newport 45-24 as the team continues to learn lessons under the bright lights of 3A KingCo.

One of those lessons came early in the night as Islander David Bowman’s match went from a stalemate to a last-second finish. Neither wrestler at the 140-pound weight class could gain an advantage through the first three minutes of the match. But Bowman’s opponent caught his arm during a takedown attempt and put the Islander on his back for a near fall. Bowman began the third round on the bottom and down 5-3, but literally flipped out from under his opponent and onto his opponent’s back to tie the match at 5-5.

“I am not even sure what I did there,” said Bowman. “It was so fast and all of a sudden I had control.”

As the clock ran down, Bowman and his Newport opponent seemed to run out of gas. But with five seconds remaining, Bowman caught his opponent napping and the ref signaled a near fall to give the Islander the last-second 7-5 win. The Newport wrestler protested the near fall after the final whistle.

“I was surprised he called the near fall,” said Bowman. “But I am still happy about it. Surprised, but happy.”

But not everything went the Islanders’ way. At the 171-pound level Islander Sam Bliss took a big 12-5 lead into the third round. Bliss needed just one point for the major decision win. But this time it was the Islander getting caught in the wrong position as Bliss was pinned with two seconds left.

“I am not used to seeing Sam lose,” said Mercer Island head coach Creighton Laughary. “The kid he wrestled is a senior and one of the top seeds in the league.”

Sophomore Jake Frazier’s match, at 160 pounds, also went down to the wire. Frazier found himself down 3-2 entering the final two minutes but a quick reversal and near fall gave the Islander a 5-3 decision.

“I was working for it the entire match and I finally got it at the end,” said Frazier. “I was hoping to pull it out in the end.”

The Islanders were able to capitalize on many missed matches. Islander Jackson Fischer earned a pin at the 1:55 mark of the 130-pound match. Tanner Linton dominated the heavy weight match with a 47-second pin and at 119 pounds Alex Faith earned a pin 19 seconds into the second round. James Kashima won the 125-pound match with a 12-5 score, while Mercer Island also picked up 12 team points on forfeits.

Chris Fricke-Yang earned Mercer Island six points as he pinned his opponent in the third round of the 112-pound match.

The Islanders took on both Mount Si and Liberty on Monday (after Reporter deadline) to finish the regular season. The meet combined two contests that were postponed due to weather.

The next challenge for the Islander wrestlers will be the 3A KingCo tournament, also at Liberty High School, on Friday and Saturday.

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