Lake Washington Kangaroos head wrestling coach Steve Becher was jovial following the final regular season dual match of the 2017-18 season against the Mercer Island Islanders.
Lake Washington (4-3 overall) earned a 42-24 win on the road against Mercer Island (4-3 overall) on Jan. 25 at Mercer Island High School. A victory against the Islanders wrestling program had previously eluded Becher throughout his entire coaching career.
“This was a big win. As a coach, it was the first time I have ever beat Mercer Island. I have been coaching at LW for 14 years. The monkey is finally off my back finally. It feels good,” Becher said. “There have been other times where we’ve been very close but just didn’t get it done. Mercer Island always puts a good team together. It was a really good win going into KingCo (tournament).”
Lake Washington grapplers capturing victories included Ian East (152-pin), Ryan Watson (145-pin), Hunter Giffard (138-pin), Logan Heenan (126-decision), Elijah Lux (132-decision), Martin Tellner (120-forfeit) and David Dean (285-forfeit).
Mercer Island head coach Lee Jahncke was encouraged by his team’s showing despite the loss. Mercer Island 220-pounder Donnie Howard pinned Lake Washington’s Dayvon Teague in just 33 seconds. Islanders’ 195-pounder wrestler Owen Baebler pinned Lake Washington’s Farris Khilfeh with just four seconds remaining in the first round. Liam Farrell (170) and Connor Pettigrew (113) earn wins via decision. Mercer Island senior 160-pound wrestler Jonah Andrews defeated Jr Hentges by injury default. Pettigrew, who trailed Max Reisman in the second round, dominated action in the third round en route to a 13-8 victory.
“We had a handful of guys who wrestled really well. There were definitely some bright spots. We had some really good matches. I was really impressed by Connor Pettigrew. That was one of the highlights of the night. He was really close to getting that pin,” Jahncke said.
The Islanders are looking forward to the KingCo wrestling tournament on Feb. 2-3 at North Creek High School.
“There was some matches where we left points out there or let things get away from us. Those are the kind of things we need to clean up before going to the postseason (KingCo tournament) next week. Mistakes like that will send you home unfortunately. There are only a couple of more weeks left in the season.”
The Mat Classic Class 3A state wrestling tournament will take place on Feb. 16-17 at the Tacoma Dome.