Three Greater Spokane League 3A regional champions had separate reasons for their state-qualifying performances Saturday at University.
North Central senior Kenny Jenks made good on his last chance at making Mat Classic next weekend in Tacoma. Shadle Park junior Terrence McKinney is seeking to improve on his state finish of a year ago. And University junior Ryan Gabel wants redemption after being legislated out of state last year.
The three are among eight GSL regional champs in 14 weight classes and 18 of 42 state qualifiers despite having 50 percent fewer regional qualifiers than those from visiting Columbia Basin schools.
University (142.5 points), Mt. Spokane (131) and Shadle Park (123) finished second, third and fourth behind team champion Sunnyside (162). North Central took sixth (106.5) in what proved to be a remarkably balanced tournament.
The Highlanders advance five to state, three of them individual titlists, U-Hi (five overall) and NC (four) had two champs each and Mt. Spokane (four) one.
Jenks was knocked out of the postseason last year with a concussion and didn’t see action until late January this year after bruising his patella and suffering tendinitis. He beat Mt. Spokane sophomore Kiegen Schauer 5-2 for the 113-pound weight class championship.
“I worked hard, put on a brace for jogging and was able to maintain my conditioning and hop into the season,” he said. “This is a big accomplishment.”
The Highlanders’ McKinney improved to 34-1 with a quick pin at 126. He was third at state last year.
“You know, losing made me mad. I knew I needed to get better,” said the youngster, who watched videos of himself and other wrestlers and has pinned 23 foes this season.
Gabel missed state last year, disqualified because medical personnel considered a minor skin infection a risk for mat contamination. His coach, Don Owen, has maintained the decision was incorrect.
“When I got back,” Gabel said. “I wanted to go to state (this) year.” Then he laughed and said, “Not getting a skin condition is a pretty big goal, too.”
Gabel won 5-2 in his 138 final Saturday evening at U-Hi to advance.
Shadle added champions Justin Miller (182 pounds), who wrestled mainly junior varsity for most of his career, and Cameron Babcock (195), competing with a cut over his eyebrow that was glued shut and covered in tape that impaired his vision.
“It was a great job by the kids,” Shadle coach Shawn Howard said. “Miller is a leader in the room who wants to be a champion, doesn’t take a day off and sets the tone.”
North Central’s other district champ is talented freshman Izaek Quintanilla who won at 132 pounds. “He’s a career wrestler who’s done a ton of freestyle and Greco-Roman,” coach Luke Leifer said. “I was pretty excited to have him come to NC.”
Mt. Spokane 152-pounder, Billy Goforth, won over U-Hi’s Adrian Orndorff. The Titans’ Kyle Cosby beat Shadle’s Tyler Brown at 285.
4A regional: The Mead Panthers won six individual championships and qualified 11 to state during competition in Moses Lake.
The most stunning of their individual titles came at 285 pounds after Cody Bocook upset Central Valley’s top-seeded Dan Schoultz 9-6 in the semifinals, then beat Ferris’ Drew Sharkey 3-2 for title. All three qualified for state.
Matt Petrini at 113 pounds and Jeremy Golding (145), Chandler Rogers (160), Sam Voigtlaender (170) and Jordan Rogers (182), as expected, were other champions among the Panthers’ 10 finalists.
The GSL qualified 21 wrestlers to state, seven by Central Valley, which had champions in Colton Orrino (126), Tyler Thelen (132) and Kolton Cole (195).
2A regional: Deer Park advanced nine wrestlers to state, scoring 213 points for the championship of the tournament at West Valley – ahead of Othello’s 191.
The Stags had four champions among six finalists, including at 120 where Jake Konzal beat teammate Michael Leonard for the title. Cole Harris won at 126, Joe Grable at 138 and Dylan Miller at 160. Matt Miller was second at 145.
East Valley’s Brayden Berezay stunned Cheney state champion Elias Mason 13-6 to win at 152 pounds. Cheney’s Cameron Schlotter beat the Knights’ Brandon Heide 4-1 at 195 pounds in another All-GNL final.
All told, 26 Great Northern League wrestlers advance to Mat Classic next weekend in Tacoma.
1A regional: Colville won the team competition with 201 points and qualified 11 wrestlers to state. Among them are individual winners Jesse Morrison (120 pounds) Trenton Welton (126) and Chandler Knight (170).
Riverside has nine state qualifiers with Kit Major (132) and Dewey Bender (220) winners. Lakeside had three champions, Jacob Ulland (106), Chase Fuson (161) and Justin Hause (195). Dalton Mudgett (145) won for Chewelah and Taylor Glidewell (152) won for Freeman.
2B/1B regional: Returning state champion Niko Knezovich won the 182-pound championship as one of five Reardan finalists and 10 Mat Classic qualifiers in the Eastern region.
Other area champions were Selkirk’s Justin Chartrey (106), Liberty’s Kain Feltwell (113), Springdale state champion Anfim Kalugin (132), Lake Roosevelt’s Orrin Gross (138), Republic’s Kyle Kirkendall (145) and Almira/Coulee-Hartline’s Jesse Billups (285).
Warden outscored Reardan 271-175 in the team race.