Three individual champions led the Oak Harbor High School wrestling team to a fourth-place finish in the 12-team Graham Morin Invitational at Squalicum High School in Bellingham Saturday, Dec. 21.
The Wildcats put in a solid showing even though they did not enter wrestlers in two of the weight classes. In all, eight of the 12 Oak Harbor wrestlers who competed placed in the top six.
Oak Harbor finished with 176 points, trailing Snohomish (252), Port Angeles (224.5) and Ferndale (191).
Cedarcrest followed Oak Harbor with 122 points, then came Nooksack Valley (95), Snohomish No. 2 (86), Bothell (81.5), Lynden (71), Woodinville (55), Sehome (49) and Squalicum (44).
Though Snohomish won the tournament, all three Oak Harbor wrestlers who captured titles defeated Panthers in the finals.
Jeremy Vester (132 pounds) defeated Keaton Mills 6-2, Jahleel Vester (138) thumped Noah Bomar 14-0 and Kekai Tarrant (170) blanked Mark Currier 4-0.
Mark Johnston (160) also reached the finals where he fell to Cedarcrest's Ely Malametz.
Both Christian Bertram (113) and Jackson Constant (285) lost in the semifinals but eventually placed third.
Earning fourths were Jacob Dugin (195) and Sebastian Ceaser (152), missing the finals by one point.
Ray Quinday (220) nabbed sixth.
Oak Harbor coach Peter Esvelt said, "We had some great performances from guys who have been quiet so far this year – namely Tarrant, Dugin and Ceasar. It was a great team effort with everyone cheering each other on."
"We have a long break to work on a lot of needed improvements before we wrestle again at the Everett Classic on Jan. 4," he added.
In the Washington Wrestling Reports' 3A state rankings Dec. 15, Jahleel Vester was ranked third in his weight class; Constant was ninth; and Bertram, Jeremy Vester and Johnston were 11th.