Lakeside High School of Nine Mile Falls proved the adage about there being strength in numbers.
The Eagles had no champions and only one finalist. But there’s no quantifying heart. Lakeside scored 96 points and watched and waited until assured of its first State A-B wrestling championship.
Ten Lakeside wrestlers competed, earning enough points through the consolation rounds to propel them past Connell.
It wasn’t until Quincy’s Brad Duda beat Connell wrestler Jason Barrow at 168 pounds that the Eagles’ 4-1/2-point lead held up.
“We’ve done our job. Now we’ll see if Quincy can do it for us,” said coach Scott Jones before that match. “lf Duda wins, I’m taking him up to the award stand with us.”
While Lakeside coaches, wrestlers and fans waited much of the night to get their championship, Chewelah wrestler Ben Eggleston got his in a matter of seconds.
Eggleston pinned his way to the title at 215 pounds, including a 57-second romp in the title match, the only championship for Northeast A-B wrestlers.
“At the beginning of the year I told coach I’d win it,” said Eggleston. “(The realization) will probably hit me when I’m on the awards stand.”
Senior 141-pounder Nate Bohl was Lakeside’s finalist. He lost to an unbeaten wrestler, Tonasket’s Ryan Schmelzer, who hadn’t allowed a takedown all year. The only point he allowed at state was Bohl’s escape.
Third-placer Matt Westenfelder, Jones’ nephew, made the leap from 129 pounds to 148 in one year and improved from fifth to third. He won four times after a loss to eventual champion Ben Barkley. Included was an overtime win over teammate Aaron Laughery in the consolation semifinals.
Laughery wound up fifth.
Tim Weisser, a semifinalist at 122, bounced back for fourth, as did Jason Christen, who lost his 135-pound opener and came all the way into the consolation finals.
Anthony Layton at 129 pounds and Sean Wheeler at 158 were seventh.
“Each of our 10 wrestlers came with a goal of finishing in the top four,” said Jones, of his young team. “Even those who didn’t will say that as well. They know they can all come back.”
Jones added that every place, seventh, fifth and third, was the same as a championship match for each individual involved.
Northeast A League wrestlers had only three finalists but strong team efforts.
Third-year placer Jason Ogle of tiny Almira/Coulee-Hartline finished as runner-up for the second straight year, giving up four early points to Vashon’s Alphonso Beuchl and losing 6-4 at 115 pounds.
Eggleston was one of three placers who led Chewelah to a fifth-place finish. Teammate Luke Sheppard was one of five NEA third-place finishers, doing so at 178 pounds. And Brian Dollar, at 141, placed fourth.
“My teammates should have been with me in the finals,” said Eggleston. “They all lost close matches. We knew we had a shot at placing as a team.”
Jesse Moroni, who took third at 101; Ben Steele, who was fifth at 122; Jeff Racicot, who was sixth at 158; and Oly Mahaffey, who beat Reardan’s Scott Eller for fifth place at 275, won medals for tenth-place Medical Lake.
Deer Park’s Heath Berger won over Republic’s Denny Hargrave in the 168-pound match for fifth and sixth.
After losing his first match at 190 pounds ACH’s Luke Winona won five in a row to finish third, as did Davenport’s Matt Schneider 215. , DataTimes