“Hip hip hoorays” resounded from the Central Valley side in a jam-packed University gymnasium as the Bears won three of four matches to begin the annual Battle of the Bone.
Then reality set in.
There was little more for CV to cheer about and the noise shifted to the other side as the unbeaten hosts reeled off eight straight wins, none of them really close, for a 52-19 victory to win the bone and the Greater Spokane League wrestling championship.
Preseason favorite U-Hi (10-0) had gone into the meet secure in the knowledge it had already earned at least a share of the league title. A 15-4 deficit to the Bears (7-3) that featured match-opening pins by Braden Davis and Jordan Wilson at 130 and 135 pounds, merely delayed the inevitable with the strength of the Titans lineup coming up.
“That made it a lot more interesting with them ahead in the early stages,” said University coach Don Owen. “Their first couple kids wrestled really hard. But it’s pretty tough for any team to match us from 152 on up.”
Ryan Zumwalt (152), Jake Mason (160), Dustin Johnson (189) and Jake Laden (215) all won by pin a minute or so into the second round of their matches, good for 24 points.
In between, Jacob Fry added five more points with a 15-0 technical fall at 171 and quickly the score was 33-15 Titans. The rout was on.
“All that really matters is that you just have to keep going and going and going and never stop and that’s the way we’re wrestling right now,” said Fry following his victory.
“That’s how we’re going to win this match. From ’52 on up we’re going to pin them.”
He wasn’t far off.
The Titans added three more wins in succession culminating in Tyler Clark’s pin at 112 to make it 46-15. And the team’s sixth pin, in the night’s final match, completed the carnage. It took just 11/2 hours.
“I’ve got a lot of faith in the kids,” said Owen. “They’ve been very consistent all year whether in a tournament or dual meets.
“When I send them out and think they’re going to win, they win. And they’re all in really good shape.”
Other GSL matches
The Titans-Bears match was just one of several rivalries on the final night of the dual-match GSL season. Of particular interest was the Stinky Singlet between Shadle Park and North Central, two programs on the rise, with young third-year coaches who had excelled at their alma maters.
Shadle’s Shawn Howard said at the beginning of the season he and his young staff were working hard to build a program.
They have, but couldn’t get past North Central.
The Indians (9-1), with a 33-21 victory in front of a packed house, finished second to the Titans. Vital was lanky Anthony Whitmarsh’s 5-3 overtime win over Dylan Lemery at 189 pounds, the third match from the end.
The Highlanders (7-3) tied with CV and Mead for third. Shadle built a 12-0 lead before NC rallied to go up 18-12.
The match was tied before the Indians won three of the final four matches, including pins by state runner-up Ben Carter and placer Steven Taylor.
Mead (7-3) rolled 58-9 at district rival Mt. Spokane (5-5) including Ben Snow’s pin over Austin Pea in a match between seasoned veterans.
Ferris (3-7) is King of the Hill after its 30-18 win at Lewis and Clark (2-8). The Tigers got a big 11-3 win at 215 by Nolan Templeton to begin the night, and Kyle Davis won in overtime at 112. The score was tied 12-12 midway through, but the Saxons won four straight for a 15-point lead including Brandon Riehle’s technical fall.
East Valley (4-6) rolled past host Rogers (1-9) 57-12, winning most by pin. Pirate state qualifier Vang Lor beat EV state placer Nick Sweeney 5-2 at 119.
The next action for wrestlers is district.
“Now the season really begins, ” said University state champion Jake Mason.
Deer Park doubled its fun and captured the league championship with a 48-24 victory over Riverside in a match between league unbeatens in the Battle of the Horns.
Ahead just 15-14, the Stags (7-0) won six straight matches between 185 and 120 pounds to get away. Despite trailing 48-14, the host Rams (6-1) were buoyed when sophomore Kit Major shocked defending state champion Blake Adams with a throw and pin in 19 seconds at 125 pounds.
In the night’s other GNL match, Cheney (5-2) finished third with a 49-21 win over West Valley (3-4). Logan Huckins’ 4-0 win at 135 pounds over Luke Konzal solidified the outcome. Blackhawk Ryan Pederson edged Josh Harris 3-1 in a 160-pound thriller, the night’s finale.