When Mead began its string of five straight finals wins from the strength of its lineup, four by pin, the team race was already a foregone conclusion.
The Panthers had piled up 451.5 points before the District 8 4A wrestling tournament finals had even started.
It was Mead against the rest of the GSL. The Panthers secured half the 28 finals berths, winning nine individual titles and sending 23 individuals on to next weekend’s regional meet in Moses Lake.
“The dominance shows in our work ethic in the room,” said Tyler McLean, whose fireman’s carry pin less than a minute into the second round of the 152-pound match was part of the victory string. “And it was nice for our No. 2 wrestlers to have a chance to shine.”
About the only thing that was amiss for the Panthers were three head-to-head losses to Central Valley wrestlers Blake Beard, Colton Orrino and Tyler Thelen from 120 and 132 pounds.
The Panthers finished with 500.5 points to the runner-up Bears’ 280.0. CV had eight finalists, winning five. The fifth, a pin by 285-pound Dan Schoultz, capped the meet.
Schoultz said he was disqualified in the placing rounds at state last year because of an emotional outburst.
“After the DQ my coach (since-departed Tommy Owen) said the only to make up for it is to win state,” he said.
He’s been focused and dominant since.
CV’s three finals losses came from among Mead’s five-weight power from 145 pounds through 182, on pins by McLean, Chandler Rogers, Sam Voigtlaender and Jordan Rogers.
“This by far the best district tournament showing I’ve been connected with,” Mead coach Phil McLean said. “We’ll hope for a little more next week.”
District 3A: Parity was the name of this year’s tournament among four schools that nearly divided 42 regional berths evenly.
But when it came to winning championships, no school does it better than University.
The Titans had eight finalists, a number equaled by Mt. Spokane, and won seven titles.
Shadle Park and North Central had six finalists each.
One U-Hi victor was sophomore John Fairbanks who had a flare for the dramatic. In the 160-pound semifinals he trailed 8-6 with time running out, but scored five points in the final 10 seconds to reach the final. There, leading 2-1 in the third period, he scored four late points to put it away.
“Like (coach Don Owen) says, you have to have the concept of a lion’s mentality,” Fairbanks said. “I’ve been waiting for this since I started wrestling.”
The Titans got titles from five underclassmen and finished with 350.5 points, 80 ahead of Shadle.
“We’ve come a long way,” Owen said. “They performed admirably.”
Mt. Spokane finished with but one champion, an impressive effort by152-pound Billy Goforth, who has two losses this year and has beaten McLean twice.
“My style basically is, ‘Go, go, go, go’ ” he said, “and to set the pace.”
District 2A: Defending state champion Deer Park finished third with 303.5 points in a three-team chase led by East Valley’s 373 points and followed by Cheney with 311.5.
Deer Park had five individual champions and qualified 13 to regionals, but was without two-time state placer Jake Konzal. EV’s Knights had one champ, Alex Rockstrom, and sent 17 to regional. Cheney had three champs, including state titlist Elias Mason, as did West Valley. Cheney advanced 14 to regional.
District 1A: Regular-season champion Colville repeated in the district tourney with 329.5 points to Riverside’s 288.5. Colville had five champions among eight finalists and 18 top-five placers. League unbeatens Tyler Ward (106), Trenton Welton (138), Tanner Smith (145) and Chandler Knight (170) were among the champs. Lakeside (Nine Mile Falls) had four winners, including Hoodie Judd, and seven finalists.
South League B subregional: Reardan had five individual champions and a runner-up, but proved no match for Warden, which outscored the Indians 365-214 for the team title.
Daniel Stauffer (138), Kaare Anderson (145), Charlie Eldred (152), Niko Knezovich (182) and Jace Melick (220) were Reardan’s titlists.
North League B subregional: Springdale had three champions and scored 139 points to finish behind Kittitas (163.5) and Liberty Bell (151), which combined for 12 finalists.