Powerful Panthers down Oak Harbor in wrestling

Official Mark Johnson, left, gets a good look at Wildcat Corey Trimbur’s (top) effort to pin Snohomish’s Austin Swetz.  - Jim Woolbright/Whidbey News-Times
Official Mark Johnson, left, gets a good look at Wildcat Corey Trimbur’s (top) effort to pin Snohomish’s Austin Swetz.
— image credit: Jim Woolbright/Whidbey News-Times

Snohomish, a top-10 team in the state 4A wrestling meet the past two years and currently ranked 12th in the state, defeated Oak Harbor 47-29 on the Wildcats’ mat Tuesday.

The match against one of the area’s strongest teams provided both a physical and mental challenge for Oak Harbor, just the type of situation coach Mike Crebbin is trying to prepare his team members to face now and in the future.

Crebbin said, “We are really stressing what wrestling as a sport does in character building.” He added that his coaching staff is emphasizing team building and the importance of qualities such as loyalty, integrity and leadership.

Crebbin noted that when his athletes leave Oak Harbor wrestling and eventually go to job interviews, they will have something more to offer than wrestling maneuvers.

Sports, Crebbin said, offer “delayed awards.” The life lessons are often not realized until the athletes face hurdles down the road. He wants his team members to see the rewards now, as well. The lessons of loyalty, integrity and leadership will help them practice harder without constant prompting and make them more mentally tough in matches.

He pointed out that in the Snohomish match, some of the Wildcats “went on their backs pretty easy a couple of times.” He said, “Not to take anything away from Snohomish, they have a good team, a well-coached team, but we lacked mental toughness in some cases.”

The Snohomish meet was a contest of lopsided battles. Only two of the 13 matches (Oak Harbor forfeited at 130 pounds) were decided by decisions. All others were falls or technical falls.

One of the decisions came in the first match at 152. Colton Elliot asked Crebbin if he could move up a weight to face one of the Panthers’ top wrestlers, Luke Perry, who is a state meet veteran.

Crebbin said Elliot “wanted to test himself against the best.” Perry won 4-0.

After Justin Everett was pinned at 160 (3:18), Oak Harbor’s Collin Higingbotham took part in the evening’s most exciting match. It was also the only match a wrestler came from behind to win.

The Wildcat 171-pounder was down 7-2 after the first period and trailed 10-6 in the second when he gained a reversal and quick pin against Jacob Birkland.

Zach Loescher (189) lost by a technical fall (16-0), Drew Culver was pinned (3:20)

at 215, and heavyweight Phil Rodgers also fell (3:13).

That put the Panthers up 26-6.

Corey Trimbur picked up Oak Harbor’s second win with a pin (1:06) at 103.

Snohomish added two more pins, defeating Brandon Strickland (3:40) at 112 and Kadden Paggao (1:03) at 119.

Oak Harbor bounced back with two wins. Cody Fakkema recorded a technical fall (18-2) at 125, and Joshua Crebbin won by a pin (3:00) at 135.

The match at 140 was the only other decided by a decision. Snohomish’s Jacob Proffit took down the Wildcats’ Josh Barton in the first period and the two points held up for a 2-1 win.

Oak Harbor’s Brandon Stratton, up 4-0 heading into the third period and starting in the down position in the 145-pound match, got a quick reversal and pin (4:27) to finish the evening.

The Wildcats are now 1-1 for the year, 0-1 in the Wesco North. Snohomish is 5-1 and 1-0.

Oak Harbor hosts Everett Thursday, Dec. 17, at 7 p.m.

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