The Central Valley wrestling team has a bright future. Saturday night it had a brilliant present.
The host Bears turned in an impressive effort by going 5 for 5 in championship bouts, best among 14 schools in the 4A regional tournament that qualified four wrestlers per weight to next weekend’s Mat Classic in Tacoma.
“I’ve always said this is now, there might not be a next year,” coach John Owen said. “They wrestled well all year, but they need to do it now.”
Then he offered this caveat, “The upside is really bright isn’t it?”
Of CV’s five champions and three other top-six placers, regional winner Tanner Davis is the only senior. Of the other titlists, Colton Orrino is a junior, Blake Beard a sophomore and Bryson Beard a freshman. And some quality youngsters will join them next year.
All year long, Owen said, that quartet’s wrestling records were indicative of what transpired Saturday evening.
The pleasant surprise was junior 152-pounder David Shephard, who said he had been wrestling worse than a year ago and entered the tournament with 10 losses. Shephard turned up the heat late in the season that put him in the company of the others.
“I’ve been trying to work hard all year and I guess I have been,” Shephard said following his 5-0 championship win over Pasco’s Jackson Fromm. “Last week I was kind of disappointed to take second (in district) to a kid I beat before, but this one feels pretty good.”
Davis (182 pounds) pinned 12 seconds into the second round. Orrino (132) also won by pin in the second round. Bryson Beard (113) toughed out wins over returning state placers, 3-2 in the semifinals and 4-2 in the finals. Brent Beard wrestled flawlessly to win comfortably at 126.
“John always says the three most important things in wrestling are position, position, position,” Beard said.
But not all was rosy for GSL powers Mead and CV.
The GSL champion Panthers, also with five finalists, won just two titles. And the consolation rounds for third and fourth state berths proved disastrous for both schools. Each advanced just one.
Tyler McLean (160 pounds) and Chandler Rogers (170), with one loss between them this year, won titles by pin for Mead.
“He wasn’t doing much and I was trying to make some action happen, but once I got that (first) takedown I knew I was going to grind him out and get the pin,” McLean said.
Lewis and Clark qualified five and Ferris one wrestler to state. LC’s Andrew Backlund came back after a heart-breaking semifinal in four overtimes.
Moses Lake was tourney winner by 26 points over Mead. CV finished fourth.
Austin Stannard has earned kudos from coach Don Owen several times during this wrestling season.
Saturday in Sunnyside, the Titans junior defeated two-time state finalist Kamiakin’s Sisto Pina for the second time in as many weeks, en route to the 170-pound championship.
Stannard was part of a charge that positions the Titans for a team state trophy run. Nine advance, six of them champions.
University won the tourney with 226 points to Sunnyside’s 168.
Ryan Gabel at 138 pounds pinned defending state champion Terrence McKinney from Shadle Park to avenge last week’s district loss.
A match earlier, Riley Smith, seeded fourth at 132 pounds, pulled off a 3-1 upset.
Kwest Osborn had opened the championship blitz with a 5-1 victory at 106 and Tate Orndorff, closed the door, 4-0 over North Central’s Heber Martinez at 285 after Tanner Orndorff smoked the 195-pound field.
Greater Spokane League wrestlers won 11 of 14 championships.
In a rematch of district finalists at 120, Kiegan Schauer from Mt. Spokane beat Rogers’ Charles Smith 3-0. The Wildcats added titles at 145 and 220 by John Hoover and Tom Harvey, the latter over Rogers’ Dwayne Robinson, and totaled seven state qualifiers.
Izaec Quintanilla (152) and Bryson Pierce (160) were North Central’s winners among five Indians state qualifiers.
Shadle qualified three, including finalist Dylan Schmidt, and Rogers has the two finalists.
Deer Park had five finalists, two of the champions and finished second to Othello during regional competition in Ellensburg.
The Huskies scored 203 points to the Stags 167.5 with Colville, Cheney and East Valley finishing fourth, fifth and sixth.
Joe Grable at 145 pounds, and Trevor Eicher at 160 were Deer Park’s title-winners.
Colville’s Tanner Smith won at 152 and Cheney’s Elias Mason won at 182, one of three Blackhawks finalists and six total state qualifiers.
They were among 13 finalists from the Great Northern League, defending Deer Park state champions Jake Konzal (126) and Cole Harris (132) among them.
Deer Park has seven state qualifiers and Colville five.
Several returning state placers won regional titles during competition in Reardan. Among them are Liberty’s Kain Feltwell (113 pounds); Tyler Osborn (120), Springdale; Nathan Scorci (132), Charlie Eldred (152) and Ike Martinez (195) from Reardan; Orrin Gross (145), Lind-Ritzville; Garet Sax (182), Selkirk; and Damon Dixon (285), Wilbur-Creston.
Liberty Bell won the tournament with 168 points. Selkirk finished third.