The Mead wrestling team won its second straight tournament in the young season Saturday afternoon.
The Panthers will likely make it 3 for 3 next week at Tri-State. At this pace, Mead probably will sweep through the season undefeated.
Mead put six in the Inland Empire Classic finals, winning three as the Panthers rolled to the championship. They finished with 205 points. Post Falls, favored to win a state championship in Idaho, was runner-up (194.5) and Washington 1A power Deer Park was third (180.5) in a deeper-than-usual tourney.
The Panthers’ Tyler McLean (152 pounds) and the Rogers brothers – Chandler at 160 and Jordan at 182 – captured individual titles.
McLean edged Nico Moreno of Moses Lake 3-2. McLean chose down to start the third period and got an escape for the winning margin.
“I just tried to stay solid,” said McLean, a junior who suffered a knee injury a week after the Christmas break last year and missed the rest of the season. “He has a good fireman’s (carry) and I had to keep my arms short. I knew I could tire him out because I’ve been training hard.”
McLean is trying to make up for lost time.
“You don’t even know,” McLean said. “I’ve been waiting for this for a year.”
McLean’s father, Phil, Mead’s coach, praised his son for bouncing back this season.
“He’s just getting his confidence back,” the coach said. “When he starts opening up and wrestling and doing what he can, he’s going to be real tough to beat.”
Chandler Rogers posted a 14-5 major decision over Dylan Miller of Deer Park. They met in the finals last week at DP with Rogers winning 8-3.
“My brother told me to get on my attack more, so I did,” Chandler said. “It worked pretty good.”
Chandler, a sophomore, likes Mead’s potential.
“No doubt we’re going to win a state title,” he said.
Phil McLean isn’t looking that far ahead. He believes the Panthers will be pushed to defend their title at Tri-State next week.
“I love my group right now,” he said. “They’re competing hard, we’re making mistakes right where we should be at this point in the season. We’re going to get better. It’s early. It’s great to see this competition this early in the year.”
Jordan Rogers, a senior, pinned his way to victory at 182. He had four falls, including stopping Justin Miller of Shadle Park in 1 minute, 16 seconds in the final.
Post Falls, in its first tourney of the season, put three in the finals and won them all. Drake Foster won at 106, Peter Berger at 113 and Cole Jesienouski at 170.
“We’re going to get in there and work on our gas tanks a little bit this week,” PF coach Pete Reardon said. “We’re in a great spot for this time of the year. We’re still ramping up as far as getting in shape. We haven’t done a lot of live wrestling in the room yet, so we don’t beat each other up. We’re right on schedule. Our kids really competed well.”
Garrett DeMers of Coeur d’Alene won at 195, scoring a 10-2 major decision over Jonathan Perales of Moses Lake. DeMers missed the first half of last year because of injury, bouncing back to take third at state.
He’s seeking nothing less than state and Tri-State titles this year.
“It would be pretty much the accomplishment of my wrestling career,” DeMers said of a Tri-State title. “Even more than a state title, because it’s our hometown tournament.”