Sports

Panthers' emotion overwhelmed fatigued Eagles

Dustin Ward elevates his opponent, Matt Surdyk, during a 9-1 major decision. - Travis Sherer
Dustin Ward elevates his opponent, Matt Surdyk, during a 9-1 major decision.
— image credit: Travis Sherer

SNOHOMISH — On an emotional night, the Eagles walked off the mat looking for answers.

"Part of it is we've wrestled a lot and traveled a lot," said Arlington coach Shaun Williams after Arlington's 57-16 Wesco loss at Snohomish Jan. 21. "But at some point, we need to compete, tired or not."

The Eagles faced a daunting task, as a packed crowd came for the final event in "The Pit," Snohomish's 50-year-old gymnasium, which had been home to generations of wrestlers.

An exhausted Eagles team (5-4 overall and 3-3 Wesco North), which had wrestled in eight duals and five tournaments, including two out-of-state invites in just one month, couldn't match the Panthers' intensity.

Fatigue became evident as the night wore on and Arlington lost three matches by a combined five points — all after carrying an advantage into the third period.

"That is what I care about," said Williams. "I don't care about the dual meet, I care about how we compete. And it's been frustrating the last two weeks."

The Eagles got wins from Ian Davis at 119 pounds, Matt Badgley at 140 and Dustin Ward at 152.

Davis and Badgley each recorded pins. Davis pinned opponent Greg Eagle in 3:03 while Badgley came out on top of a difficult match with Jared Mitchell, getting his pin in 4:37.

Ironically, the match of the night for Arlington was by Ward, who reversed the trend of Snohomish being able to dictate the match. Ward was all over his opponent Matt Surdyk, scoring whenever he decided to shoot en route to a 9-1 major decision.

"That's the kind of response I'm looking for," Williams said about Ward, who has really come on in the past month, hanging with the top 152-pounders in the state. "He wrestled well tonight."

And Williams noted that fatigue, for some of his wrestlers, wasn't because of how many matches they've seen, but because of their desire to get better.

"There are some of the guys, like (Blake) McPherson. I tell him, 'Go home. I don't want to see you at practice. Get some rest — and he shows up to practice,'" Williams said.

But, for the most part, Williams acknowledged a need to find a way to keep his wrestlers fresh and motivated while getting them used to a schedule where they wrestle the maximum 35 matches per season.

"I don't think any of them are used to this much competition at such a high level," said Williams, whose wrestlers have seen some of the best in the country at the Tri-State Invitational in Idaho and the Rocky Mountain Invitational in Montana. "I can understand being tired, but this can't happen. You've still got to wrestle."

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