MABTON - With five wrestlers qualifying for the championship finals, Mabton's wrestling team earned third-place honors at its 11-team Mid Valley Classic.
"We were pleased," Coach John Kilian said of Mabton's finish. "Second-place would have been nice, though, so we could have gotten a trophy at our own tournament," he added.
The problem, Kilian noted, is that the Vikings didn't have enough top four placers.
"We had five guys finish first or second, but the thing that hurt us is we only had one fourth and no third-place guys to provide a supporting cast," Kilian said.
Still, the coach was pleased with his team's overall effort, which missed out on second place by just a few points.
Eli Perez earned one of two Mabton weight division titles with a 7-0 victory over Cle Elum's Matt McKenzie in the 189-lb. final.
At 215 lbs., Robert Marquez claimed the other individual title, pinning Cody Vandeventer.
Mabton's Luis Aviles lost to Granger's Sammy Salcedo in the 112-lb. finals to claim second place.
"He had a good day, beat a couple of good opponents," observed Kilian.
Andy Torres earned second place in the 119-lb. weight division, losing to Granger's Josh Russell in the finals.
Mabton's third and final runner-up finish came from Cesar Macedo at 160 lbs., who lost in the finals to Jeff McNally of Wahkiakum.
The only other Viking wrestler to place was Adrian Magana, who took fourth at 171 lbs. after losing to Rainier's Chad McKinley in the consolation finals.
"It was a great tourney," said Kilian. "Things ran pretty smoothly and we had a lot of compliments from the other schools."
The tourney was also a good preview of Granger and Goldendale, league teams Mabton will face this Tuesday in Granger.
"We'll have some tough matches Tuesday, but we need to learn to toughen up," said Kilian. "We've faced some of those guys before and lost, and when you lose you get a little more fire in the belly."