Sports

Three place at 16-team meet; Davis third, James and Mehrer fourth in B’ham

Friday Harbor junior Justin James placed fourth at the Nooksack Valley Invitational, a regional meet, Saturday. Above, James, who won two matches and lost two to finish fourth in the 160-pound weight division, attempts a takedown against Nooksack Valley’s Dillon Jimmie in a home match earlier in the week. - Scott Rasmussen
Friday Harbor junior Justin James placed fourth at the Nooksack Valley Invitational, a regional meet, Saturday. Above, James, who won two matches and lost two to finish fourth in the 160-pound weight division, attempts a takedown against Nooksack Valley’s Dillon Jimmie in a home match earlier in the week.
— image credit: Scott Rasmussen

Junior wrestler Justin James shook off an opening-round loss and muscled his way to a fourth-place finish Saturday at the Nooksack Valley Invitational.

Not to be outdone, Friday Harbor senior Calen Mehrer dismantled a pair of opponents in succession in the 215 weight division to earn a fourth-place finish as well.

But nobody on the Wolverine wrestling team, upperclassmen included, had a day quite like Michael Davis. The 145-pound freshman shredded three opponents before stumbling in the semifinals, still sharp enough to capture third place in a first-ever appearance at the annual wrestling extravaganza in Bellingham.

This year, a fleet of wrestlers from 17 different schools, the Wolverines included, competed for top honors against counterparts in their particular weight categories. Each category features 16 competitors squaring off in a double-elimination bracket, with winners advancing and an appearance in the title bout on the line.

James dropped into the consolation bracket with a loss in the opening round. But with successive wins, the 160-pound junior resurfaced in the championship bracket with a shot at the title still in sight. That quest ended with a defeat in the quarterfinal round.

“I would’ve like to have finished higher up but I’m happy with how it turned out,” he said.

The Wolverines got a boost from their trio of top finishers. But lacking competitors in the lower weight divisions, the team was again plagued by forfeits and finished 14th overall in scoring.

The biggest blow may be the loss of Maverick Blake, who suffered a season-ending shoulder injury at the invitational. The 140-pound sophomore, with 12 wins and six losses this year, is taking the injury and the end to any post-season aspirations in stride.

“Luckily, I’m a sophomore,” Blake said. “I’ll be back next year.”

Earlier in the week, the Wolverines were outmuscled by Nooksack Valley 48-24, but bounced back to defeat Meridian 42-24 in a combined match Thursday at Hall Gym. Mehrer and senior Conner Johns (152) posted Friday Harbor’s only wins — other than forfeits — against Nooksack Valley. The two seniors each pinned their Pioneer opponents.

Against Meridian, the Wolverines gained a rare advantage in points by forefeit and grabbed the edge in scoring on the mat as well.

Sophomore Shawn Cutting (145) tallied four points for the team with a 5-4 decision in a closely-contested bout against the Trojans’ Mick Matheson. Mehrer tallied six points by pinning freshman James Reedy-Capp, and Johns added four more with a 10-8 decision against junior Dillon Roque.

Next: The Wolverines are on the road today at Concrete. Matches begin at 3:30 p.m. The Wolverines host La Conner Thursday. Matches begin at 4:30 p.m. in Hall Gym.

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