Wrestling with an urgency that was lacking the night before, Central Valley got past rival University in front of a capacity crowd amid the pandemonium they call the Battle of the Bone.
The Bears showed grit by surviving precarious back-point situations and winning the matches they were supposed to for the 33-24 victory and a share of second place with the host Titans (both finishing the season with 7-2 records.)
“I told the kids this is more than a wrestling match, it’s an event,” said coach John Owen after his team bounced back from its drubbing by Mead to pull off the road win in front of 2,500-plus fans.
Pivotal early were matches at 126 and 132 pounds. Colton Orrino and Tyler Thelen had each wrestled a weight higher for most of the GSL season, but were at tournament weight and accounted for 10 points and a 13-0 advantage.
University won three of four tossup contests to stay in touch, before CV won four straight matches down the stretch. But twice U-Hi had the Bears on their backs, scant millimeters from the mat, only to settle for decisions.
The match that sealed the win came late when sophomore 220-pounder Lowell Kovacovich came off his back twice for a 6-5 win over freshman Tanner Orndorff. Because they were at the edge of the mat both times, Orndorff was not awarded near-fall points.
Dan Schoultz pinned Kyle Cosby in a match between league unbeaten 285-pounders rendering moot U-Hi’s last two wins.
So what was the difference in Thursday night CV compared to Wednesday night CV?
“To think you could turn it around 24 hours later,” John Owen said. “When you have doubt whether you can win (as happened against Mead) you don’t wrestle your best. Tonight we felt we could we could win, and when you know that you wrestle your best.”
His brother, and Titans coach, Don Owen saw a grittier group of Bears wrestlers.
“CV wrestled well,” he said. “They went to their backs all year, but didn’t tonight. The difference was they won eight matches and we won six and we didn’t pin them.”
Mead 60, Mt. Spokane 9: The Panthers completed a 9-0 season in the same dominant fashion over each GSL foe. They won 12 of 14 matches, six by pin. But in the featured match, the Wildcats’ (6-3) Billy Goforth nipped Tyler McLean for the second time, 3-0 on a third-period escape and takedown to finish perfect in league.
Shadle Park 35, North Central 28: Seniors shone during the Stinky Singlet as the host Highlanders (4-5) got match-turning 8-6 and 5-4 wins from TJ Pajimola (138) and Dylan Schmidt (145). They piled up 25 points with five successive wins from 170 through 285 pounds led by senior Brandon Bunke, to share fifth place in league. The Indians finished 3-6.
Rogers 45, Gonzaga Prep 27: The Pirates (4-5) had their best season in years with the win against the visiting Bullpups (0-9). Seniors filled all but three weights. The highlight match was a 16-10 win by Rogers’ 113-pound Brandon Webster.
Lewis and Clark 43, Ferris 18: The annual battle on the South Hill went to the Tigers (3-6) over the rival Saxons (2-7). Gavin Parsons at 113 pounds and Jared Tso at 132 both won by pin.
Great Northern League
East Valley 41, Clarkston 21: The host Knights (5-1) secured second place with a victory over the Bantams (3-3). EV won eight of nine matches from 106 through 160 pounds.
Cheney 49, Medical Lake 26: The visiting Blackhawks (4-2) started the night off with four straight pins leading 24-0 and left the Cardinals (2-4) playing catch-up.
West Valley 36, Pullman 31: The visiting Greyhounds (0-6) jumped to a 27-0 lead with five wins, three by forfeit. But the Eagles (1-5) won all but the final match.