LYNDEN - Lynden senior Ryan Meggison recently "visited" his mother at the hospital where she works after being hit by a car on his way to school.
Twelve days later, he didn't have to go nearly as far to "visit" her at the scorer's table - where she was working as a parent volunteer at the Lynden Invitational - after he took the first tournament title of his wrestling career.
Meggison said he and his mom, Kate, could hardly have expected such an emotional January. Now, if he can win a medal at Class 2A state, he'll wrap up one of the best stories of the season.
Appropriately enough, Meggison not only won the 170-pound title with a last-period pin, but he also claimed his second consecutive Andy Jenkins Sportsmanship memorial trophy.
Oh, and it was "super hero" weekend for the boys, who listed their favorite super hero on their entry sheets for the finals. Meggison simply wrote "Mom" to go along with the likes of Captain America, Green Lantern and Batman.
"It was on that Monday, Jan. 7, when I got clipped in the leg by a car. I thought my career might be over," said Meggison, who pinned Glacier Peak's Thomas Griffin with 22 seconds remaining in the final. "I was in the crosswalk and looked both ways, and this car came out of nowhere. I had to go to St. Joseph where my mom works. It was pretty painful."
Pain or no pain, the courageous fourth-year wrestler received clearance to return to practice five days earlier after missing the Northwest Conference meet last weekend.
"I really wanted to compete in this tournament," said Meggison, who improved to 21-4 for the season. "I was really determined. This is the last time I'll ever wrestle in my home gym. I think Mom was even more excited than I was."
Meggison fell behind 6-3 against his Glacier Peak opponent, but scored seven consecutive points before notching the pin, his second of the tournament.
Meanwhile, the opponents of three Mount Baker standouts may have thought something hit them. Junior Joey Walton (138) and seniors Zach Larson (145) and Sterling Honeycutt (220) claimed titles to lead the Class 1A Mountaineers to a strong third place in a 16-team tournament loaded with higher- classification schools.
"We really competed well, going three for three in the finals," said Baker coach Ron Lepper, whose team scored 154 points to trail only Class 3A rivals Oak Harbor (207) and Glacier Peak (182). "That's what we talked about in the (wrestling) room all week - taking pride in our competitive spirit. We'd had a couple of tough dual losses to (NWC powers) Blaine and Ferndale and we had not competed well last weekend."
Walton (14-3) won one of the wildest matches in Lepper's long coaching career, a 21-19 decision over Port Townsend's Dillon Ralls (21-8).
Walton led 13-12 with 1:20 left in the match, so there were an amazing 15 points scored in the last 80 seconds as he survived a furious effort by Ralls to claim Walton's first tourney title of the season. He pinned his first two opponents.
"No, nothing like that ever," Walton said with a grin when asked if he had ever been involved in such a wild match.
Walton's victory pumped up Larson, who wrestled next and rallied in the final minute with a two-point takedown to gain a 6-5 decision over Bellingham's tough Patrick Anderson (21-5).
"That's the best Zach has wrestled all year," said Lepper.
Larson said he felt a motivational bonus.
"Joey's win was a crazy match," said Larson, who earned his second tourney title this season. "I sure needed a win, too. I had been in a slump (before the tournament). I have something like 20-something wins and six losses. I definitely remember how many losses."
Honeycutt (24-5) pinned Newport senior Austin Curtis (15-2) with 1:23 remaining in the match, earning his fourth tourney title of the season.
"Coach Lepper was talking to me about being more aggressive, about not stalling," said Honeycutt. "I haven't had any stalling points this season, but for me to do better at state than I did last year (1-2), I'm going to have to become more aggressive."
Honeycutt said the basketball success of his cousins, Ferndale sophomore Linsey on the girls' team and freshman Austin on the boys' team, has made his senior year all the more fun.
"It's great to see them get all that recognition," he said with one of his typical smiles - he smiles a lot. "But it's motivation for me, too, to get some recognition."
Whatcom County had a fifth champion among nine finalists - Bellingham sophomore Riley Takemura (15-7), who gained his third tournament championship. His two-point third-period manuever broke a tie and provided the match's final points in a 5-3 decision over Newport's David Yingling (15-5).
"I'm very happy. I did a good job chaining my moves and keeping my mental focus," said Takemura, who scored a victory for Deadpool over Captain America in a spirited "battle" of characters from Marvel Comics (the announcer noted each super hero being represented).
"Riley wrestled real well," said Bellingham coach Tom Hinz, who hopes to coach the third brother in the Takemura wrestling family to Riley's first state medal.
Three other Whatcom County wrestlers reached the finals, making nine local finalists in all. Meridian senior Jack Hallmark (23-7) suffered an 8-4 loss to Oak Harbor's Cody Fakkema (22-1) at 132; Lynden senior Ryan Mouat (16-7) fell to Glacier Peak's Jacob Elledge 4-0 at 152; and Squalicum senior Patrick Schjelderup (15-5) was pinned at 3:16 by Glacier Peak's Mosese Fifita at 285.
The Outstanding Wrestler awards went to Eastside Catholic's Matt Iwicki (126) in the seven lighter weights and Meadowdale's Morgan Smith (160) in the seven heavier weights.
Lynden (97), Squalicum (92), Bellingham (79), Anacortes (69) and Sehome (58) finished sixth through tenth.
Team scores: Oak Harbor 207, 2. Glacier Peak 182, 3. Mount Baker 154, 4. Meadowdale 124.5, 5. Newport 111, 6. Lynden 97, 7. Squalicum 92, 8. Bellingham 79, 9. Anacortes 69, 10. Sehome 58, 11. Mount Vernon 57, 12. Port Townsend 52, 13. Eastside Catholic 51, 14. Monroe 49.5, 15. Meridian 30, 16. Juanita 29.
Title matches: 106: Christian Bertram (Oak Harbor) pinned Mark Evanks (Meadowdale); 113: Riley Takemura (Bellingham) dec. David Yingling (Newport) 5-3; 120: Diego Dwyer (Newport) injury default over Christian Pridgeon (Monroe); 126: Matt Iwicki (Eastside Catholic) dec. John Kim (Glacier Peak) 4-2; 132: Cody Fakkema (Oak Harbor) dec. Jack Hallmark (Meridian) 8-4; 138: Joey Walton (Mount Baker) dec. Dillon Ralls (Port Townsend) 21-19; 145: Zach Larson (Mount Baker) dec. Patrick Anderson (Bellingham) 6-5; 152: Jacob Elledge (Glacier Peak) dec. Ryan Mouat (Lynden) 4-0; 160: Morgan Smith (Meadowdale) dec. Joshua Crebbin (Oak Harbor) 3-1; 170: Ryan Meggison (Lynden) pinned Thomas Griffin (Glacier Peak); 182: Ross Atterberry (Anacortes) dec. Jon Laningham (Oak Harbor) 5-2; 195: Easton Edwards (Mount Vernon) dec. Aarron Tisinger (Anacortes) 6-2; 220: Sterling Honeycutt (Mount Baker) pinned Austin Curtis (Newport); 285: Mosese Fifita (Glacier Peak) pinned Patrick Schjelderup (Squalicum).
Whatcom County third-place winners (two at each weight): 106: Anthony Krause (Squalicum); 120: Raven Marquez (Lynden) and Luke Jordan (Squalicum); 126: Nick Iaconetti (Lynden) and Steven Yazzie (Sehome); 132: Jeremiah Cronk (Mount Baker); 138: Evan Villalobos (Sehome); 152: Alex Tyska (Mount Baker); 182: Kyle Stallo (Squalicum); 285: Jake Larson (Mount Baker).