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Twisting the field
By Matt Phelps
The Islander wrestling team won the 3A KingCo tournament title for the second consecutive season. The team will advance to the district meet after scoring 223 points during the meet that was held at Liberty High School Saturday. Issaquah (189.5) and Mount Si (166) will also advance to districts.
Mercer Island also qualified nine wrestlers for the district meet, most in 3A KingCo.
``This year we are more solid in all the weights, but we only had three No. 1 wrestlers coming in,'' said Islander wrestling head coach Paul Jackson. ``We have had a nice run of kids meshed together. I thought this year would be difficult, but they have worked really hard to get this far.''
The biggest surprise for the Islanders was Greg Jones at 125 pounds. The sophomore came into the tournament ranked No. 2 in KingCo and walked away with a KingCo title.
``He had some monumental battles,'' said Jackson. ``During the finals, he had to beat the returning champ.''
Jones won the finals match in a 10-8 decision over Mount Si's Mike Montgomery.
Islander Jesse Johnson surprised no one by blasting his way through the 215 pound weight division. The returning champion beat his first opponent with a 56-second pin fall.
``It is nice to get those because you get more down time,'' said Johnson, who took third at state last season. ``I feel a lot more pressure this year because I am not an unknown and I think I have a lot more to lose.''
Earning two more first-round pin falls, Johnson qualified for the finals, where he won a tight 5-4 decision over Mount Si's Trevor Moore.
Islander Sean Embly is the KingCo champion at 119 pounds, pinning his final opponent, Ryan Boser of Liberty, during the second round (3:47). Embly dominated the weight class with a 14-2 major decision and a pin fall during the semifinals.
At 135 pounds, Parker Faith is the fourth champion for the Islanders. Faith defeated Dean Bradshaw of Sammamish, earning an 8-0 win during the finals. Faith got a pin during the semifinals and a major decision 13-0 during the tournament.
At 145 pounds, Islander Kyle Agnew was dominating during the semifinals. He earned a 50-second pin fall over Clark McKenzie of Issaquah to clinch second place.
Agnew then got another shot at Chris Yncera of Issaquah. During the regular season Yncera caught Agnew in a mistake and made him pay with a pin during the first round. This time, during the KingCo finals, Agnew had a better match but still lost 8-1 to finish second overall.
Mercer Island heavyweight Kostya Pospelov finished second overall, as he lost his finals match 6-2.
``It is really difficult not to get nervous being a senior and knowing that this is my last shot,'' said Pospelov. ``It is hard to pick yourself back up after you have lost a match.''
Pospelov scored big during the first round with a 14-second pin fall.
Islander Dan Rock will advance to districts after taking third place in the 140-pound weight class with an 8-2 victory in the consolation final.
Colin Sedlacek of Mercer Island earned an 8-4 victory during his consolation final at 160 pounds.
At 189 pounds, Chris Pothoven earned a spot at districts with a 44 second pin fall during the consolation finals.
Top-four finishers also included Alex Faith (103), Jean Laschever (112) and Aaron Agnew (130).