Johnson, Agnew advance

By Matt Phelps

The toughest region in the state not only destroyed the number of Islander wrestlers that will compete at state, but also ripped through the entire 3A KingCo contingent Saturday at Sedro-Wooley High School. Mercer Island, the No. 1 team from 3A KingCo, placed seventh overall with just 54 points.

``We had five guys that went to state last year, but it was a tough tournament this time,'' said Islander Kyle Agnew. ``This tournament was our state tournament because it is the toughest region in the state.''

Only two other teams from the Islanders' league reached the top 10 (Mount Si, ninth place; Newport, 10th place). Sedro-Wooley dominated the tournament with a score of 283.5 and a 122-point margin of victory.

Mercer Island entered the tournament with nine wrestlers competing, only two of whom will advance to the state meet this Saturday at the Tacoma Dome.

``We knew this was going to be tough,'' said Islander senior Jesse Johnson. ``It is disappointing to just have two of us going to state.''

Johnson took third place overall at 215 pounds and ended up wrestling two separate athletes from Anacortes during his run. Johnson won the consolation final with a second-round pin.

``I got him on the ground and just used my moves as efficiently as I could,'' said Johnson, who will take on Ryan Coman of West Seattle at 12:50 p.m. during the first round of state. ``I am just glad to make it back to state. I am just going to go out there and try as hard as I can. It's my last shot.''

Johnson will be joined by Agnew at 145 pounds. The Mercer Island senior will return to state, where sickness consumed his run last season. He will take on Yelm High School's James Curlis at 11:40 a.m. during the first round of state. This year, it was the district meet that saw Agnew battling sickness along with some tough opponents. The senior admitted to being a bit intimidated by his first match against a Sedro-Wooley wrestler.

``It scared me a little,'' said Agnew. ``They have a great team.''

The intimidation factor wore off as the match progressed. Down by just one point with time ticking away during the third round, Agnew got caught with his head in the wrong place. The Sedro-Wooley wrestler capitalized.

``I shot him and he got me down and he pinned me,'' said Agnew. ``I was the most upset that there was less than 15 seconds remaining in the match.''

He said it was tough to get back into the tournament mentally. Agnew had to face another match with a different Sedro-Wooley wrestler before the finish of his tournament run.

During the consolation finals for third place, Agnew and his opponent exchanged moves until the Islander felt something go wrong.

``I felt a snap and he just screamed,'' said Agnew. ``I knew something was wrong and I felt bad. He couldn't even walk.''

The broken foot did not deter his opponent as he came back to finish the match. The injury spooked Agnew.

``When he was down, I thought I had won it,'' said Agnew. ``He stayed in and it was hard to get back into the match.''

Agnew would earn the pin during the second round to advance to state.

``I talked to him later,'' said Agnew. ``I couldn't believe he kept going.''

The trip to state will be Agnew's last shot at placing at the Mat Classic.

``I am just going to do the best I can,'' said Agnew. ``I have a few days to get over this cold and keep my weight down.''

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