By Emma Wickman
Special to the Journal
Friday Harbor High School wrestlers are dominating the mat this season. On Feb. 11, four wrestlers attended regional matches in Adna, Washington.
Senior co-captain James Guard (120) coming off of two state appearances while wrestling in the 113-pound weight class, won three of his four matches and placed third overall. He now advances to the Mat Classic in the Tacoma Dome on Feb. 17.
Senior co-captain Jesse Payne (113) is also coming off of a state appearance from last year, where he wrestled in the 120-pound weight class and pinned his man in regionals in just 12 seconds. He continued in the tournament, and placed sixth overall, advancing to the state tournament as an alternate.
In response to a question about their performances at regionals, Payne and Guard agreed that the competition was a lot more fierce than in years past. After a combined nine matches, they said that they have never been sorer in their wrestling careers.
Freshman Jordan Lawson (132) also made it to regionals. Lawson strategically wrestled two weight classes above his actual weight, to reduce the level of competition. Lawson lost a close match that went all three rounds.
Freshmen Weston Swirtz (195) lost his first two matches and was unable to continue in the tournament.
It is both of the freshman’s first time at regionals, and they are both new to wrestling at the competitive level.
Payne and Guard attribute their success to coaches, Taine Pyle and Neil Macdiarmid.
“We really believe that we are successful because of our coaches, Taine and Neil, who have been there for us, and coaching us since we were freshmen in high school,” Payne said.