TACOMA – For not having a holster full of bullets, the Central Valley wrestling team made the most of its available arsenal Friday during opening-round action at Mat Classic XXVI.
All seven of Central Valley’s state qualifiers won at the Tacoma Dome.
Three of seven Bears, though, were trapped in the quarterfinals. Defending champs Blake Beard and Colton Orrino advanced along with Bryson Beard and David Shepard, but Orrino, arguably one of the top wrestlers in the state, got by with little room to spare.
The undefeated Orrino was sluggish from the start in his quarterfinal, falling behind 5-4 in the second period when he gave up a takedown and back points.
Orrino chose down to start the final 2 minutes, and he was awarded one point for a violation and got an escape for a 6-5 lead with 1:20 to go. Moments later, he scored a takedown and seemed to be comfortably ahead with 39 seconds remaining.
But Wilson got a late reversal to pull within the final margin.
CV coach John Owen was incensed afterward.
“I’m mad at him. You have to earn the right to move forward,” Owen said. “There’s no ownership out there.”
Orrino declined an interview initially after the match. About 90 minutes later he was ready to talk.
“The kid was awkward, but he wrestled harder than me,” Orrino said. “I didn’t wrestle as hard as I should have. I’m going to come out (today) and hopefully put on a show. I’m upset.”
Two Bears who needed no motivation were Blake Beard (138) and Shepard (160).
Beard dominated in his two matches, winning his opener 16-3 and scoring a technical fall in the quarterfinals.
Shepard opened with a pin and followed it up with a 9-2 decision.
“I went two and out last year,” Shepard said. “I was a little too nervous last year. I wasn’t ready to wrestle in here. I’m only slightly better than last year but I came out ready to wrestle.”
Shepard will be challenged in the semifinals.
“Based on seeding I’m the underdog,” he said. “But better, in my opinion, to be the underdog because there’s less pressure.”
Bryson Beard opened with a 4-2 win and needed overtime to escape the quarterfinals.
“There were some good ones and there were some bad ones,” Owen said of Friday’s results. “Blake and David wrestled really well. I told Colton that he had a good lesson.”
Lewis and Clark and Mead each pushed three into the semifinals.
The Tigers’ Dakota Numbers (170) used a pin and an 11-4 decision to advance; teammate Andrew Backlund (195) moved on by virtue of 5-3 and 6-2 wins; and LC’s Noah Buckley (heavyweight) pinned his way through.
Moving into the semifinals for Mead were Tate Leclaire (138), Wyatt Nemec (145) and Mason Ju (220).
Leclaire, Nemec and Ju each won by pins and decisions.
Defending team champ Lake Stevens is threatening to run away from the field. The Vikings went 19-6, with all 11 winning at least one match.