Oak Harbor sends 11 to regionals

In their strongest team effort thus far, the Oak Harbor wrestling team captured second place at the WesCo North sub-regional tournament on Saturday, while advancing 11 wrestlers to the regional tournament.

“We wrestled really well,” Oak Harbor head coach Brian Farmer said. “I was so happy for these kids who have worked hard all season.”

OHHS led by six points going into the semifinal matches, but Lake Stevens, the state’s top ranked team, eventually pulled away for the league title. The Vikings ended the day with 371.5 points, with the Wildcats coming a close 314.5.

Despite finishing second, Oak Harbor certainly made some noise in the Snohomish High School gym. The Cats took home two league titles with stellar performances from junior Chris Wichers (140) and senior Ryan Lange (189).

“The hard work paid off really well for both of those guys,” Farmer said.

Wichers gutted out a 9-5 decision over Tully Smith of Stanwood, while Lange fended off a late rally from Andy Smith of Lake Stevens for a 6-4 decision.

Seniors Chad Tacia (135), Tony Nicolas (145) and Robert Tafflinger (160) all made it to their championship bouts, before finishing runner up to their respective titles.

Other top four placers for the Wildcats include junior Karlson Miller (103), senior Steven Lemme (125), senior Grayson Miller (130), junior Jeremy Soptich (160), senior Patrick O’Brien (171) and senior Blake Ward (215).

“This is the most (wrestlers) I’ve ever sent in my time here,” Farmer said.

The Wildcats could send more athletes to regionals, depending on last night’s pigtail matches. David Wasickanin (119) and Russell Casimire (275) both came in fifth place and had to face the number four finishers from the WesCo South.

The regional tournament begins Friday, Feb. 13, and runs through Saturday at Tahoma High School in Maple Valley. The state tournament is held the following weekend at the Tacoma Dome.

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