BELLINGHAM - Two forfeits and two starters absent from the Storm's starting lineup couldn't stop Squalicum.
After suffering one-point losses to Stanwood and Burlington-Edison in the last week, Storm 152-pounder Josh Ewing summed up Squalicum's feeling heading into its Northwest Conference bout against Ferndale in one word: "Redemption."
They got some.
Anthony Krause, Luke Jordan, Cole Welch, Aaron Saunders and Patrick Schjelderup recorded pins to help Squalicum beat Ferndale 36-30 during a league dual meet Wednesday, Dec. 5, at Squalicum High School.
Ewing was relieved to end Squalicum's small string of narrow defeats.
"We really wanted to go out there and win that one and we did," Ewing said. "I feel like we won where we needed to and, where we couldn't have won, we just came in there and wrestled hard. Even though we didn't have our full lineup, we still brought it."
Ewing proved how determined his team was to win with the self-determination he showed in his match against Ferndale's Riley Saenz.
A Saenz two-point takedown and an Ewing escape gave Ferndale a 2-1 lead heading into the second period. Ewing scored a two-point reverse as the final buzzer sounded to take a 5-4 lead into the third and final period. Saenz took back the lead with a takedown 30 seconds into the period. In the final minute, Ewing struggled to score a point as Saenz controlled the top position. With 4 seconds left on the clock, Ewing mustered enough strength to get out from under Saenz to record a dramatic 7-6 decision, which gave Ferndale three points.
It was a great way to cap a first week of wrestling for Ewing, who struggled last year with a hamstring injury.
"Every time he steps on the mat, he is improving," Squalicum coach Russell Robinson said of Ewing. "Last year was kind of a disappointing year for him, but he's put in the extra work this summer. He works hard at practice and goes and finds the best wrestler in the room. It showed tonight. He wrestled with heart all the way through."
The dual began at the 220 weight class. Ferndale earned six points by way of forfeit, and the Golden Eagles never led again.
Schjelderup (285) tied the dual at 6-6 by pinning Ferndale's Chris Hernandez 1:14 into the first period. Krause (106) followed up with a pin 55 seconds into his match with Golden Eagles' Brodrie Belknap to put Squalicum in front 12-6, and Spencer Wallace (113) capped the Storm's three-match win streak with a 7-2 decision against Isaiah Heredia.
Ferndale's Devon Bennett (120) and Adeaus Premo (126) tied the match with a pin and a decision. Bennett earned a pin 38 seconds in against Squalicum's Ian Fuhrmeister, and Premo narrowly beat Job Ashby 7-5.
With Squalicum leading 21-18, Squalicum first-year varsity wrestler and 145-pounder Cole Welch earned a key six points with a pin against Ferndale's Cory Slaughter with 20 seconds to go in the third period.
"I'm proud of them all," Robinson said of his wrestlers. "I thought Cole did a great job. Really, it's only his sixth match wrestling on varsity. Aaron (Saunders) is 6-0 with four being pins. His win was huge as well."
Saunders (160) pinned Ferndale's Sam Cleary 1:03 into the first period to give Squalicum its biggest lead of the match, 36-18.
Ferndale coach Caleb Schlack was disappointed by his team's performance.
"I think we kind of came out and everything we've been practicing went out the window tonight," Schlack said. "It just seemed like our guys were waiting for something to happen. When you wait for something to happen, it usually does, and it's usually bad. That's exactly what happened. They got after it. They wrestled great, and we wrestled flat."
Ferndale got wins from Bennett, Premo, Derek Vadja, Erik Engels and Sam Alexander. Bennett was the only Golden Eagle to pin his opponent.
Reach Andrew Lang at email@example.com or call 360-756-2862.
SQUALICUM 36, FERNDALE 30
106: Anthony Krause (Sq) pin Brodrie Belknap (Fern) 0:55. 113: Spencer Wallace (Sq) dec. Isaiah Heredia (Fern) 7-2. 120: Devon Bennett (Fern) pin Ian Fuhrmeister (Sq) 0:38. 126: Adeaus Premo (Fern) dec. Jobe Ashby (Sq) 7-5. 132: Luke Jordan (Sq) pin Braiden Klimp (Fern) 2:56. 138: Derek Vadja (Fern) dec. Zach Wallace (Sq) 9-5. 145: Cole Welch (Sq) pin Cory Slaughter (Fern) 5:40. 152: Josh Ewing (Sq) dec. Riley Saenz (Fern) 7-6. 160: Aaron Saunders (Sq) pin Sam Cleary (Fern) 1:03. 170: Erik Engels (Fern) dec. Cooper Stach (Sq) 9-3. 182: Charnjit Mattu (Fern) win by forfeit. 195: Sam Alexander (Fern) dec. 6-4 Kyle Stallo (Sq). 220: Klinton Maassen (Fern) win by forfeit. 285: Patrick Schjelderup (Sq) pin Chris Hernandez (Fern) 1:14 .
Reach ANDREW LANG at firstname.lastname@example.org or call ext. 862.