It becomes a numbers game when the Greater Spokane League faces the Columbia Basin Big Nine in 4A regional wrestling.
The GSL is at a decided disadvantage, not only because the CBBN has a 70-42 edge in competitors in 14 weight classes. The region qualifies just three per weight to state from the one-day tournament that begins at 10 a.m. Saturday at Richland High School.
That will put a burden on state team title contender University, despite having 16 wrestlers in the field.
“It comes on a bad year for us, because we have one of the better, if not the best team, in state,” Titans coach Don Owen said. “Anyone will suffer coming out of our region.”
The Titans have six wrestlers who are good bets to advance to Mat Classic in Tacoma, including defending state champion Jake Mason and finalist Ryan Zumwalt. Anything short of eight will put a crimp in their state title hopes, Owen said.
“I’d like to have 10 – I think that’s possible – and on a good weekend maybe 12,” Owen said. “But we have six wrestlers, who I also think are tough, who might not get to state because the weights are so tough.”
Moses Lake and Wenatchee, with 12 entrants each, will challenge U-Hi. Mead, with three returning state placers, is also in the mix.
Two weight classes, 103 and 112, are loaded.
In the genes
At a lanky 6-foot-7, North Central’s Andrew Whitmarsh is not your prototypical wrestler, more suited it would seem for basketball.
“You should see him,” Indians coach Luke Leifer said. “He dunks a ball, no problem.”
But Whitmarsh, a finalist last weekend at 189 pounds in the 3A subregional and headed to West Valley in Yakima for this weekend’s regional tournament, said wrestling is in the family.
“My grandpa is a state champion,” he said. “I never thought about being a basketball guy.”
His grandfather is 1967 Rogers 148-pound winner Brad Davis.
Whitmarsh said he doesn’t look like a good wrestler, but pulls stuff out and wins. He can be somewhat unorthodox, but his length is an opponent’s nightmare, evidenced last week by his ability to turn the tables on Shadle Park foe Dylan Lemery’s cradle attempt and nearly win the subregional championship. Whitmarsh is one of 11 NC wrestlers in Saturday’s regional tournament, which begins at 10 a.m. and qualifies four wrestlers per weight to state.
•The 2A regional is Friday and Saturday at West Valley High School. The top five in each weight advance to state.
•The 1A regional is Friday and Saturday at Tonasket. The top four in each weight advance to state.
•The 2B/1B regional is Friday and Saturday at Kittitas. The top five in each weight advance to state.