MT. VERNON - Sunnyside dominated the lower weight classes to garner a third place finish at the eight-school Mt. Vernon Wrestling Invitational this past Saturday.
The Grizzlies captured individual championships in the 103, 112, 119 and 125-lb. weight divisions enroute to posting a third best 167 team points.
Blaine High School, which advanced five wrestlers to the finals, was strong in the middle weights and won the team championship with 217 points.
Burlington-Edison, via its strength in the upper weights, placed second with 202 points.
In placing third, Coach George Paulus said his Grizzlies, as a whole, looked better on the mat than they did a week earlier at the Skyview Invitational, where they placed fourth.
"I thought we showed a lot more fight this past Saturday," Paulus said.
All four of Sunnyside's individual titlists posted 3-0 records at Mt. Vernon.
At 103 lbs., Isaac Romero advanced to the finals and the Grizzly mighty mite pinned Blaine's Jacob Humphrey with one second remaining in the second round.
Sunnyside's Ricardo Rivera, the 112-lb. titlist, faced a familiar foe in his finals match-teammate Joel Gaspar.
"We were given an opportunity to enter one of our JV wrestlers at 112 lbs.," said Paulus.
That boded well for Rivera, who skated to a 14-0 win.
J.T. Gonzalez of Sunnyside, the 119-lb. titlist, also won handily in his finals match. He decisioned South Whidbey Island's James Shorr by a 6-1 score.
Sunnyside's fourth individual champion at Mt. Vernon, Steve Sanchez, pulled off a stunning 4-2 double overtime victory in the 125-lb. finals. Sanchez scored a "sudden death" reversal to defeat State tournament veteran Taylor Reijm of Burlington-Edison. Sanchez is the defending 3A 119-lb. State champion.
In addition to the four individual championships garnered by the Grizzlies, Sunnyside had four wrestlers bring home a third place finish. The four, all with 3-1 tourney records, included Tomas Pena at 130 lbs., Zeke Galvan at 145 lbs., Michael Graham at 152 lbs. and Angelo Salazar at 275 lbs.
Pena scored a fall in the consolation finals over Mt. Lake Terrace's Andrew Larson.
Galvan also pinned his consolation finals opponent, Blaine's Miguel Alvarez.
Graham was a 9-4 winner over John Brady of Blaine in the consolation finals.
Salazar scored a second round pin in his consolation finals match against Michael Reyna of Burlington-Edison.
The two other Grizzlies who placed at the Mt. Vernon invite were Aaron Blanco at 189 lbs. and James Van Wingerden at 171 lbs.
Blanco, 2-2 on the day, defeated Mt. Vernon's Marcos Rodriguez via pin in the placing match for fifth and sixth place honors.
Van Wingerden, with one win and two losses in the tourney, lost a 5-3 overtime decision in his placing match to Billy Wise of Burlington-Edison to settle for sixth place honors.
Sunnyside's other competitors at the tourney included Baltozar Avalos at 135 lbs. (1-2), Jordan Pace at 140 lbs. (0-2), Adolfo Blanco at 160 lbs. (0-2) and Kyle Tyler at 215 lbs. (0-2).
The Sunnyside wrestling team's next scheduled competition is Wednesday, Dec. 28, at Hanford High School's Winter Cup Invitational.