The Whitman Vikings took on the archrival Bulldogs December 15 in the dogs’ house, and came away with a 51-24 victory. For this match, Coach Manon bumped up several wrestlers to weight classes above their normal levels, and called up freshman Jackson Blanchard from the junior varsity to wrestle at 145 pounds in place of the injured sophomore Andrew Shiman.
Determined as usual by random draw, wrestling began at 285 pounds and senior Jacob Winch, wrestling above his normal weight level against a tough competitor, came from behind in the third round to deliver an important 6-3 victory that probably took Churchill by surprise and set a tone for the entire match. Senior Chris Habibian was next at 106 pounds, aggressively taking a 4-2 lead in the second period and pinning his opponent in the third period. Then sophomore Clark Boinis dominated his opponent from the outset, building his score advantage throughout the bout and ultimately getting a pin in the third period. The score was 15-0 in Whitman’s favor.
Freshman Colby Fong at 120 was up against an experienced Churchill senior, and despite fighting hard he went down in the first period. Similarly, freshman Max Gersch at 126 faced an experienced Churchill junior, and despite stringent resistance, was pinned in the first period. Then, at 132 pounds, sophomore James Mackall had to contend with Churchill’s Jack Connolly, one of their best wrestlers, who was fresh off a first place 9-0 win-loss record at a weekend tournament; despite resisting valiantly, Mackall was pinned in the second period, leaving Churchill ahead 18-15.
The Churchill team and crowd began to cheer, but they became more subdued after senior James Bamberger, in the next match at 138 pounds, pinned his Churchill opponent in 22 seconds. Now freshman Jackson Blanchard, in his first varsity match at 145 pounds, had to deal with Churchill’s J.J. Bravo, a senior who last year placed in the regional tournament; despite fighting mightily, Blanchard was pinned in the first period. Churchill had the lead again, 24-21. But that was the last time they led.
With senior Mitch Fenton next to wrestle for Whitman at 152 pounds, Churchill elected to forfeit rather than send anyone out to meet him. This win was Mitch’s 100th career victory, an amazing accomplishment! Senior Hamoon Shokoohinia had a hard-fought match at 160, but came away with a 7-4 victory. Wrestling at 170, senior Braedon McKee led from early on and wound up with a 9-5 win. By this time the score was 33-24 in Whitman’s favor, and there followed a fairly quick series of pins by Whitman to close out the match.
Wrestling at 182, senior Marcos Solloso pinned his Churchill opponent in the second period. Likewise, wrestling at 195, senior Ezra Alexander got a pin in the second period. And, finally, sophomore John-Luke Iglesias, at 220, pinned his guy in the second period. Final score, Whitman Vikings 51, Churchill Bulldogs 24.
By Craig Bamberger