In the end Woodinville prevailed in a bit of an upset, and Viking grapplers appeared disgruntled as a team — some more than others — while rolling up the mats at home after a 35-32 team loss to its crosstown rivals.
Toward the end of a spirited and highly competitive meet, it came down to the battle of the big boys — Woodinville’s Jason Burroughs and Inglemoor’s Andrew Stocker at 285 plus pounds with the scoreboard tied at 26-apiece.
It was no thriller as the behemoths hand-fought only and pushed each other around the mat like big bears who were reluctant to leave their feet.
Burroughs survived the slow dance with a 1-0 victory, putting the Falcons up 29-26.
And then the contest got technically funky, as Inglemoor sent out a 106-pounder with no response from Woodinville to go up 32-29 on a forfeit.
The Falcons, knowing the Vikings had no 113-pounder, sent out a body for another forfeit, and grabbed the win 35-32.
A win on paper — not the mat.
“I’ve got a whole lot of respect for Shaker (Culpepper) and their coaching staff, but that was a tough way to lose the match,” Vikings first-year head coach Paul Schulfer later said.
“But, hey, I guess that was good strategy by them. For us, tonight some guys underperformed.”
Woodinville senior 120-pounder A.J. Dedios dominated the opening match 21-11 to set a tone, Zach Gracia pitched a shutout at 126 and Garrett Foss followed with a pin at 132 to make it 14-0 Falcons.
“We knew in the lighter weights they have some experienced guys and we were inexperienced, but thought that not getting pinned was a way to win the match. We thought our heavier guys would come through.”
Didn’t happen on Tuesday in Kenmore.
Although highly-regarded Gabe Seward manhandled his opponent at 138 for a 13-1 major decision and Ian Bedo also won a 13-4 decision handily, they did not win by fall and failed to gain major match points.
Woodinville’s Wyatt Smith won a big 13-9 decision at 152 over Brandon Hernan and then Ryan Christensen competed.
It was a no-doubter as the deadly sophomore pinned his man in 25 seconds to push the Falcon lead to 23-8, as well as his personal record to 31-0.
Inglemoor responded with three straight pins: Sam Gastineau over Lucas Blasdell, Mark Johnson over a game Cole Stemmerman and Josh Koukal over Colby Carlson to go up 26-23.
But Woodinville’s Jake Hollister, at 220, won a nail-biter over nemesis Ben Carson, 6-4 in overtime.
The two beefy bulldogs were scoreless after one period, tied 3-3 after two and notched again at 4-apiece after three, with Carson gaining a late point at the 0:10 mark after Hollister’s two so-called stalls elicited one critical point from the referee.
Nonetheless, Jake’s takedown 11 seconds into overtime gave him the win.
“Since junior high we’ve wrestled 10 times,” Hollister later said. “We know each other really well and it’s gone back and forth. We’ll meet again.”
Culpepper was pleased to get out of the Inglemoor gym with a team win.
“They’re a really good squad but once we won that heavyweight match we knew we had a chance,” the 15-year Falcon coach said. “It’s a great rivalry and it seems like over the last 10 years it’s always close — no matter who’s the more talented team ... They’ve beaten us and we’ve beaten them. There’s something to be said for that rivalry thing.”
The KingCo wrestling championships begin Friday, Feb. 3 at Issaquah High School and anything can happen.