Before the wrestling season, University coach Don Owen wasn’t sure about the quality of his team.
Nearly the whole lineup had graduated and this season’s roster was peppered with freshmen, sophomores, juniors and inexperienced seniors.
But after Wednesday’s 40-20 victory over Mt. Spokane, surprising in the final margin of its outcome, the Titans are 6-0 two-thirds of the way through the Greater Spokane League season.
“Probably not,” Owen said when asked if he expected a 20-point differential. “But you can never tell in a high school match. Our kids are so young that half the time you don’t know what to expect.”
The night’s first match at 132 pounds was an example. One of Owen’s sophomores, Connor Douglas, held a commanding 7-0 lead late in the third round when Kadar Schauer caught and pinned him with just 34 seconds left in the match.
The Titans came right back with a pin and technical fall for an 11-6 lead, but they trailed 16-13 before winning six of the night’s final seven matches.
Two freshmen factored heavily in the outcome.
Tate Orndorff, wrestling at 220 pounds in a weight usually reserved for older athletes, made good use of the single-leg takedown. The last led to a pin with 5 seconds remaining in the second period.
He was the third Orndorff victor, as older brothers Tanner (145 pounds) and Adrian (170), got the other wins.
With the host Wildcats still hoping for a team tie, freshman 113-pounder Jeff Wyrick, clinched U-Hi’s victory, winning 4-3 at 113 pounds.
“That was one of my toughest matches,” Wyrick said. “I’m so glad. I was hoping we would win.”
Mt. Spokane (4-2) bumped four wrestlers up, two strategically and two out of necessity, and came away with three wins. It wasn’t enough as the Titans had a 9-5 advantage in the 14 weight classes.
“We competed hard tonight,” Owen said. “We still made mistakes, but I was pleased with how hard they wrestled.”
Next up for U-Hi is a match against the league’s other unbeaten, Mead.
Rogers 38, North Central 30: The Pirates (3-3) continued their resurgence at NC (3-3) with Luke Rogers, Khalil Ross and Josh Whitaker winning the final three matches, two by pin and the other by major decision. Douglas and Dwayne Robinson (220 pounds) remained unbeaten in the GSL.
Lewis and Clark 35, Shadle Park 33: The Tigers (1-5) stunned the Highlanders (1-5) at Shadle Park, building a 35-12 lead before surrendering 21 straight points in the final four matches. Jared Tso of LC took a 12-4 major decision at 132 over Caleb Burger, who had been unbeaten in league.
Mead 63, Ferris 12: The Panthers (6-0) continue to overwhelm their foes, pinning five in the first seven matches for a 39-0 lead before the visiting Saxons (1-5) got on the scoreboard. Ferris had two wins. In the night’s closest match, Mead’s Matt Clark used an inside trip for an overtime takedown and 5-3 victory over Jackson Bloom at 160.
Central Valley 44, Gonzaga Prep 17: The visiting Bears improved to 5-1, winning six straight matches after falling behind 7-4 early against the Bullpups (0-6).
River City Duals
The River City Duals are Friday and Saturday at Post Falls High School.
Action in the 23-team tourney begins at 3 p.m. Friday and conclude with placing matches at 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
Lewiston, which took second at Tri-State, Post Falls, Colville and Nampa, Idaho, are expected to challenge for the team title.