By NATHAN WHALEN
Special to The Record
The number of girls competing on South Whidbey’s wrestling team quadrupled over last season.
Eight girls are on the Falcon’s squad. Coach John Sommer said girls have participated in previous years with two competing last season.
He cited the performance of junior Kaylie Baker, who competed in the state tournament in 2023 and wrestled at the national freestyle wrestling championships held in Fargo, North Dakota, for helping increase the number of girls on the wrestling team.
“That’s inspired a lot of girls to want to compete,” Sommer said, adding it’s a developmental season for some of the girls who are building their conditioning and learning the skills to be successful.
Baker wants her teammates to improve. “I want to see people make it to state this year and next year,” she said.
Two South Whidbey girls wrestled Thursday in the Falcons’ first league dual match of the season, where the Falcons topped Granite Falls, 48-28. Freshman Logan Schnobrich participated in the boys varsity dual, competing at 106 pounds, and senior Hailey Nikula competed in an exhibition match. Both came up short in their matches.
“Tonight was fun,” Sommer said. “Granite Falls always has a tough squad.”
Seniors Evan Welever (150 pounds), Cole Thorsen (157 pounds), and Dylan Walker (165 pounds) earned pins against Granite Falls. Freshmen Nathan Welever (120 pounds) and Christopher Bunch (126 pounds) also pinned their opponents.
“All of my seniors wrestled really well,” Sommer said.
Thorsen, who has a record for the season of 25-5, said he’s been drilling re-shoots for the week, and he earned a first-period pin Thursday. “It just worked out in the match.”
Sommer highlighted the efforts of Welever, Baker, Walker and Thorsen. “They’ve put in a ton of time in-season and out-of-season.”
South Whidbey’s wrestling team has 38 wrestlers, nine of whom are seniors. They were recognized before Thursday’s match during senior night. Seniors are Jamie Dale, Evan Welever, Cole Thorsen, Dylan Walker, Gavin Baker, Traynor Prael, Andrew Fundak and Hailey Nikula. Senior Jaje Drake is a co-op wrestler who attends Coupeville High School.
South Whidbey’s boys and girls wrestling teams are competing at different tournaments Saturday. The girls team heads to Oak Harbor to compete in the Rock Island Rumble while the boys wrestle at the Sky Valley Invite in Sultan.