TACOMA – It ended up being more work than the University wrestling team anticipated Saturday.
The Titans sent four into state championship matches but they went 0 for 3 until senior 195-pounder Tanner Orndorff captured an individual title, winning 7-2, and in so doing clinched University’s third team title since 2005.
University finished with 142.5 points, four ahead of Decatur. Mt. Spokane took fifth.
Freshman Cam Sorenson fell 12-10 in overtime at 113; senior Terrence McKinney of Shadle Park pulled off a repeat, stopping Titans senior Ryan Gabel 8-6 at 138; and junior Austin Stannard succumbed on a late and questionable takedown in a 3-1 setback at 170.
It was no secret to Orndorff. He knew what he had to do. If he didn’t win, it was possible for Decatur to forge a tie.
“We knew that if we lost all of our matches and Decatur pinned (at 285) that it would be a tie,” Orndorff said. “We wanted to control our own destiny.”
His teammates all had opportunities to win.
“Last week everyone won in front of me at regionals,” Orndorff said. “It was just momentum. Tonight we didn’t have any momentum. We had three tough losses. So I had to create my own momentum and get the job done.”
His final was never in doubt.
“I couldn’t believe it was going to happen until it did,” Orndorff said of being a state champ. “I’m just blessed today.”
His coach, Don Owen, wiped away a few tears. Orndorff is like a son to him having been hanging around the practice room since he was knee high to a grasshopper.
“What I feel really sentimental about with kids like him is there isn’t anybody in the state that works any harder than he does,” Owen said. “He goes everywhere, anywhere to wrestle. He works year-round with the sport. And he’s got a great family.”
In addition to McKinney and Orndorff, two other Greater Spokane League wrestlers were state champs – John Hoover of Mt. Spokane (145) and Izaec Quintanilla of North Central (152).
McKinney beat Gabel for a third time in four matches.
He used a first-period takedown to open a 2-0 lead.
“Usually, when we wrestle, the first guy to score wins,” McKinney said.
Quintanilla cruised into the final with a technical fall in the semifinals.
He was caught off-guard by an odd-shaped opponent who was lanky and had a leverage advantage. But Quintanilla held on, 8-6.
“I knew he was going to be tough,” Quintanilla said. “It was close but I had to be very smart. He had a really weird style. I’ve never really wrestled anybody like that.”
Kiegen Schauer (120) and Tom Harvey (220) of Mt. Spokane each took second.