washburn

Mount Baker freshman Elijah Washburn, right, wrestles against Ferndale in the championship round of the Northwest Conference dual meet. (Hailey Palmer/Lynden Tribune)

Subregionals for all classifications are this weekend 

BELLINGHAM — Mount Baker boys wrestling captured the regular-season Northwest Conference title Jan. 29 at the NWC dual meet. Along with the Mounties were the Ferndale, Bellingham and Burlington-Edison teams wrestling for top conference honors. 

Mount Baker beat Burlington-Edison 51-25 in the first round to advance to the championship dual while Ferndale beat Bellingham 50-30.

In the championship round, the Mounties narrowly secured the victory over the Golden Eagles 41-36.

“I think they competed really well and it was a culmination of the whole season where we just came out and did what we had to do to find a way to win,” Mounties coach Ron Lepper said. 

Lepper called both victories of the evening a team effort.

“Some kids got some big wins for us and some kids lost matches, but didn’t get pinned — which is extremely important in a dual setting,” he said. “I’m just really proud of those kids. Even though they lost, they helped the team by not getting pinned.”

Ferndale coach Caleb Schlack said he was proud of how much his kids have improved throughout the season. 

“That’s what we’re more proud of with our kids — not necessarily the win and the outcome, but how we compete and how we are progressing in our wrestling,” he said. “All of our kids are progressing really well, so I’m happy about that.”

Both Mount Baker and Ferndale were off this past weekend, finally getting a break in what can be a daunting wrestling schedule. The Mounties had wrestled in a tournament eight straight weekends. 

Lepper said the team would still put in work to gear up for the postseason, but mostly it’s a chance to let bodies rest.

“It’s a chance for the guys to get a little break, let their bodies heal up and make a push the final three weeks,” he said.

Schlack said that now for the postseason, the Golden Eagles will focus more on each particular wrestler than the team as a whole. 

“It’s going to be more individual-based so we can really help kids with what they need to fine-tune for the postseason,” he said. 

Ferndale wrestlers will travel to Snohomish High School this weekend for the Class 3A North Subregionals Feb. 7-8. Mount Baker will head to Sultan High School for the Class 1A Subregionals Saturday, Feb. 8. 

Blaine and Lynden are at 2A Subregionals Feb. 7-8 at Sedro-Woolley High School.

Lepper said this is a year where the Mounties have the potential to have some wrestlers make it to the second day of the state tournament, which would put those wrestlers in the top eight for placer status at state. 

“Our goal [as a team] is to get ourselves in the top 10 somewhere and hopefully we can do that,” he said. “It’s going to be a tough go because there’s quality teams out there, but that’s our goal.”

Schlack said winning in the postseason is obviously ideal, but focusing on growth is more important. 

“As much as we want to win, I want our kids to understand the characteristics and attributes that wrestling teaches them so it can carry them on through everyday life,” he said. “We can accept a loss a lot better if we’re focused on progression and getting better. If we’re focusing on that progression, the wins are going to take care of themselves.”