A year ago University’s Tanner Orndorff wrestled at 145 pounds. A year older and 50 pounds heavier, Orndorff is a metaphor for how much the Titans have grown.
Despite the remarkable weight gain, Orndorff had only one close match en route to the 195-pound championship at Saturday’s Inland Empire Wrestling Tournament at Central Valley and helped the Titans win the team title.
His was the only individual championship, but the Titans had a total of 12 placers, four of them finalists, in the top five (and a couple others finished as nonscoring U-Hi All Stars sixth-placers). University outscored the runner-up Post Falls Trojans 223 to 204.5.
“Last year a lot of my (returning) kids got to wrestle a lot of matches,” coach Don Owen said. “They were so green, you’re not sure how it will turn out.”
U-Hi had graduated a large group that finished first and second in state in 2010 and 2011 respectively, and the youngsters took their lumps last season while improving enough to tie for second in the Greater Spokane League.
The proof of their dedication and maturation was on display at the IE tournament.
As for Orndorff, Owen pointed out that he’s a young senior. “He’s grown a lot because he’s at the age where you grow as a senior. He’s metamorphosed. He knows how to wrestle because he’s wrestled at lightweight.”
Titan depth trumped individual successes. Like U-Hi, Central Valley had four finalists, but all of them are returning state placers and all won their respective weight classes.
The Trojans had six finalists, two of them champions.
CV’s Beard brothers, freshman Bryson at 113 pounds and Blake at 126, won by nearly identical scores (8-2 and 8-3). Colton Orrino pinned at 132 and Tanner Davis won 6-1 at 182. Two of the titles, Blake’s and Tanner’s, came at the expense of Post Falls finalists.
“It’s all about the intensity of the room,” Davis said. “We’ve all talked about how we want all of us to place among the top three, if not the state championships.”
The two Trojans champions, Alius Delarosa at 106 and Drake Foster at 120, won by pin.
Colville, a State 1A program for the past two years, placed fourth behind Mead.
Now 2A, the Indians had the 145 titlist in junior Trenton Welton. Coach Randy Cloke said competing against the “big dogs” is part of growing the program.
“It’s a lot different, a lot tougher,” said Welton, one of two Class 2A champions at the meet competing mainly against 4A and 3A wrestlers. “I’m pretty stoked about it. Last week I lost to the kid I wrestled. I just felt a lot better.”
Mead had two champions, Tyler McLean at 160 by the skin of his teeth and Chandler Rogers by increasingly faster pins – 1 minute, 52 seconds in his opener, 41 seconds in the semis and just 27 seconds in the 170-pound title bout.
Cheney’s Cameron Schlotter, second in state last year, was the other 2A titlist at 220.
Coeur d’Alene’s Matt James avoided Titan Tate Orndorff’s takedown when time ran out on a 4-4 tie, then won by pin in overtime at 285.