Lakewood grapplers fall to Tigers on senior night

LAKEWOOD — Looking at Tom O'Hara's face after a duel with Granite Falls, one could easily jump to the conclusion that his grapplers won 86-0.

O'Hara was happy about his team's performance, despite a 43-36 loss to Granite Falls Jan. 20, but his glee had more to do with the way his five seniors performed on senior night.

"Many of these guys have been here with me all four years and they've become more than wrestlers," he said. "And on top of that, I'm happy with how we did — Granite Falls is solid."

Despite losing in the end, Lakewood held a team lead for much of the match after scoring a number of late pins to win matches.

"We definitely pulled some out in the end — some with a little luck — but that just shows we have had good practices lately, and we're in really good shape," said O'Hara.

The Cougars forfeited the first two matches at 112 and 119 pounds to get into an early 12-0 deficit, but pins by sophomores Drake Mosteller (3:47) at 125 pounds and Cameran Wheeler (2:46) tied the score.

Lakewood took a loss at 135, but then pinned three of its next four matchups in the third period, starting with junior 140-pounder Nolan Bingaman.

Bingaman was followed by senior Josh Linscott at 145, who recorded a fall at 4:53.

"That was really cool to see Josh do that in his last home match," said O'Hara. "He's just such a great kid."

At 160 pounds, senior Sean Hackworth battled his opponent and just when it looked like he was on his back, Hackworth reversed his fortune by flipping his legs over his opponent while keeping hold of his head, putting him in perfect position for a pin at 5:09.

Before the Cougars knew it, they owned a 30-22 lead, but that didn't last, as Granite Falls won four of the next five matches to take the match.

Also scoring six points for the Cougars was senior heavyweight Juneau Wilson, who won by forfeit, but made his presence felt on the sideline, cheering on his teammates.

"We really fought in this one — I wish we'd fought like that all season," said O'Hara. "But we took some matches late, won as many as them and that's really all you can ask for."

Needless to say, it was an emotional night for the Cougars, as it was also Coaches for Cancer night and a showcase for Lakewood youth wrestlers. Last season, the Cascade Conference raised $4,500 to help fight cancer at conference events spanning just two nights.

Lakewood has one final meet at Archbishop Murphy Jan. 27.

Lakewood's seniors include Linscott, Mitchell Fernandes, Hackworth, Wilson and Tasha Postlethwaite.

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