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S'side 'Lil Grapplers capture five State titles

CHENEY - The Sunnyside 'Lil Grapplers capped off a successful 2006 season at the Jason Crawford Memorial Tournament by winning five State titles and bringing home eight runner-up finishes and eight third place performances.

Sunnyside's State titlists include 5/6-year-old age division champs Silvester Cortes Jr. (60 lbs.) and Izaiah Gonzalez (40 lbs.). Capturing 11/12-year-old age division State championships were Devan Amaro (130 lbs.) and Adam Peters (203 lbs.).

The fifth State titlist from the local wrestling club was Noe Palomino, in the 9/10-year-old 87-lb. division. Palomino avenged an earlier season loss to an Othello wrestler enroute to advancing to the finals.

"Sweet revenge," said Sunnyside 'Lil Grapplers Coach Daniel Guillen.

Sunnyside's second place finishers at the Crawford Memorial tourney in Cheney, which annually serves as the State championships for the young wrestlers, included Jose Campos (38 lbs.) and Michael Lopez (50 lbs.) in the 5/6-year-old age division; Jacob Mendoza (50 lbs.) in the 7/8-year-old age division; Hasson Kone (78 lbs.) and Fidel Medina (59 lbs.) in the 9/10-year-old age division; Ryan Hernandez (137 lbs.) and Frankie Ochoa (149 lbs.) in the 11/12-year-old age division; and Nicolas Lopez (112 lbs.) in the 13/14-year-old age division.

Notching third place finishes for the Sunnyside wrestlers were Isaac Palomino (71 lbs.) in the 7/8-year-old age division; Jesse Barajas (64 lbs.) and Orlando Medina (98 lbs.) in the 9/10-year-old age division; Daniel Guillen (79 lbs.), Marcel Saenz (81 lbs.) and Marcos Yanez (137 lbs.) in the 11/12-year-old age division; and Charlie Barajas (110 lbs.) and Anthony Palomino (88 lbs.) in the 13/14-year-old age division.

"We had a very successful season," said the 'Lil Grapplers coach, Guillen. "I am proud of all the kids," he added, noting 42 team members competed at the State tourney and half of them brought home "top three" finishes.

"Not bad at all," he said.

Guillen went on to thank CanAm for providing financial support to this year's team, and said he was appreciative of the support from Sunnyside High School Coach George Paulus.

"I also would like to thank all my coaches-Dave Amaro, Phillip Blankenship, Dave Mendoza, Freddie Cerda, Michael Lopez, Juan Gonzalez and Juan Barajas-for their time and dedication to this kids program," Guillen said. "I would not be able to do this without them, as well as the parents of these kids.

"We really have a strong team here with all the parent involvement and participation.

"It was great and I am looking forward to next year," he added.

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