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Vikings qualify two for State

ROYAL CITY - It was a disappointing run for the Mabton High School wrestling team at this past weekend's Regional tournament at Royal City.

Fresh off their second place finish at Districts the week prior, the Vikings had to settle for a seventh place showing at Regionals, which featured such 1A powerhouses as Warden and Royal City. Warden won the team title with 313 points. Royal City, which had seven Regional champions, was a distant second with 209.5 points. District champion Zillah took third at Regionals with 108 points. Columbia-Burbank finished just ahead of Mabton in sixth place with 55 points. The Vikings were seventh out of 15 teams with 53 points.

"It was disappointing because of how well the kids wrestled at Districts," admitted Mabton Coach John Kilian.

Kilian said some of his guys were very nervous going into Regionals and it showed.

The Vikings did qualify two wrestlers for this coming weekend's State tournament at the Tacoma Dome. Those two wrestlers should be bringing home some sort of medal from the State tournament, said Kilian.

At 119 lbs., Andy Torres is the first of the Mabton wrestlers that qualified for State.

"He had a great day," said Kilian.

Torres lost in the finals to one of the favorites to place at State, Jose Barajas of Royal City. Torres put up a valiant effort, before losing by pin in 5:04.

Torres had two pins on the day, winning his semifinal match in 29 seconds.

"Andy got out there and gritted his teeth," said Kilian. "It was nice to see. Andy knows he can go toe-to-toe with anybody."

The other Viking making his way to State is Robert Marquez, at 215 lbs.

Marquez had a tall order in the finals at Regionals, going up against defending State champion Carlos Hernandez of Warden. Hernandez, who has three State medals to his credit, won the Regional crown 15-5 behind the strength of five takedowns.

"Robert did good," said Kilian.

Kilian said Marquez has to get some confidence on his feet, especially at State.

Serving as an alternate for the Vikings is Marco Zepeda (135 lbs.). Zepeda finished fifth, winning a 12-11 decision over Zach Bogle of Highland in the trophy round.

Also winning a match at Regionals was Luis Aviles, who placed sixth for Mabton at 112 lbs.

Kilian said he is excited about the chances of his two wrestlers bringing some sort of hardware back from the State tournament.

"We will see what color the two medals we bring home are," said Kilian.

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