Not much separated the top four finishers during the Greater Spokane League dual wrestling season, but Mead’s second straight District 8 championship, by a point over University, carried close to extremes.
The Panthers won by 16.5 points a year ago and the closest district finish dating back 17 years was an 11-point win by Gonzaga Prep in 1999.
“For all the things that can happen in two days for it to come down to this … ,” said Mead coach Phil McLean, whose ’99 Bullpups were state champions. “We tell the kids in a tournament every point counts. This is a perfect example.”
He said he will never tell a wrestler he needs to pin an opponent in order for the team to win, but that’s what it took from Carter Comito in the night’s final contest for the Panthers to pull off Saturday night’s 357-356 victory over University. The teams shared the GSL title.
University advances 12 to Saturday’s regional tournament at Central Valley. Eight of them were finalists, five were champions. Mead had seven finalists and five champions while qualifying 10 to regional.
CV also has 10 regional qualifiers, but only one among six finalists, Cody Stratton, won a title. Ferris qualified eight, two of them champions – senior Andrew Michel, 130, and junior Brandon Riehle, 135. Lewis and Clark’s two qualifiers include 189-pound titlist Peter Van Voorhis.
Titans winners were sophomores Brandon Matlock, 103, and Tyler Clark, 112; senior Zack Lester, 125; and juniors Ryan Zumwalt, 145, and Jake Mason, 160.
“I’m happy with our guys. They wrestled well,” said U-Hi coach Don Owen. “Mead is a good team. Their (number two entrants) wrestled well. They came back a long ways.”
The only disappointment for Owen came at 160 pounds where sophomore Jacob Fry finished fourth following a one-point loss.
“It was the toughest bracket in the tournament,” said Owen.
Besides Comito, a senior, Mead champs were freshmen Jeremy Golding, 119, and Jason Rogers, 140; senior Nick Bond, 152, and junior Jacob Trotter, 215. The Panthers also had five fourth- place finishers, which in other years would qualify for regionals but this year leaves them as alternates.
“It’s a roller coaster,” said McLean, whose Panthers trailed U-Hi by 27 points after the first day. “You win some maybe you should lose and lose one you thought you would win. But to bounce back says a lot. A good second day, that’s always good.”
Close to the vest
Central Valley 171 pounder Stratton is no stranger to close matches, so it was no surprise he was involved in two one-point decisions, winning the title 3-2 over Ian Bauman of Ferris.
Stratton won a 2-1 overtime semifinal over U-Hi’s Dustin Johnson a week after losing to Johnson 4-3, also in overtime.
“I have like 20-something overtimes in two years,” Stratton said.
•During the CV-University dual that wound up a tie, Clark lost 3-1 to Jarod Maynes. He beat his fellow sophomore 17-5 for the 112-pound title. Maynes beat Clark three straight at the end of last year, including for third and fourth places in state. This win, Clark said, one-upped his father, who placed third in state, but never won a district title.
EV, as expected
East Valley’s sub-regional wrestling win, by nearly 70 points over Sunnyside, went as expected, with bonuses.
Knights heavy hitters were state placers Chris Tripplet, 145, all by pin; Jake Rodriguez, 152, two pins; Nic Price, 160, two pins and a major; and Dakota Lawson, 189, all pins, who breezed to titles as expected. Getting a 130-pound title from Gabe Rodriguez and second place by Nick Coleck at 140 were icing. EV had seven finalists and 12 regional qualifiers.
“Gabe won and we’re happy with that. Nick was second and we’re real pleased,” said coach Craig Hanson. “The other guys, we anticipated they’d be there.”
North Central advances seven and had two champions, freshman Mitchell Bocook at 125 and junior Steve Taylor at 285.
Mt. Spokane champions were junior Wyatt McGuire, 119, and senior Ryan Phillipy, 171, and advances five. Shadle Park qualified seven and Rogers two.
Hoop playoffs begin
Postseason games for area Class 1A, 2B and 1B basketball teams began Monday and continue this week.
The State 1B tournament in Yakima is up first, meaning District 7 competition gets underway for the two girls and boys state berths.
•1B – District 7 girls games tonight pit Curlew at Panorama No. 1 Columbia, St. Michaels at Bi-County No. 1 Almira/Coulee-Hartline, Inchelium at Bi-County No. 2 Sprague-Harringon and Odessa at Panorama No. 2 Cusick.
Boys games Wednesday are Inchelium at Bi-County No. 1 ACH, Northport at Panorama No. 1 Wellpinit, Curlew at Bi-County No. 2 Odessa and Wilbur-Creston at Panorama No. 2 Cusick
All are at 6 p.m. The tournament resumes Saturday and continues through Feb. 21 at Riverside and Deer Park.
District 9 tournaments begin Wednesday with Tri Cities Prep at LaCrosse-Washtucna and Touchet at Rosalia in 7:30 girls games. They run through Feb. 20.
•2B – The 2B Bi-County League tournament tonight sends No. 6 Liberty to No. 3 Lind- Ritzville and No. 5 Colfax to No. 4 Reardan. Girls teams played Monday night. The tournament concludes Thursday and Friday in Colfax with five teams advancing to District 7.
The Panorama tournament sends Republic boys and girls to St. George’s and Selkirk boys and girls to Springdale at 5 and 6:30 p.m. At stake are three berths to district Feb. 16-28 at Mt. Spokane and Mead.
District 9 play begin next week.
•1A – Northeast A League tournaments begin tonight with a loser-out game, the Chewelah girls to Kettle Falls at 6. Wednesday, the Kettle Falls boys are at Chewelah, loser out, at 7.
They continue the next two weekends and qualify three teams each to regional.
– Staff writer Dave Trimmer contributed to this notebook.