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Seven 'Little Grapplers' earn state championships

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SURPRISE! Not really. With the current crisis in the Mideast, it didn't come as a major shock to anyone that gasoline prices edged up to over $3 a gallon at most Lower Valley service stations recently. Here, the price of regular unleaded gasoline at the Grandview Conoco station yesterday (Wednesday) is going for $3.01.9.

SPOKANE - Seven members of the Sunnyside Little Grapplers wrestling club earned top finishes two weekends ago at the Jason Crawford Memorial State Tournament in Spokane.

The state champs included Jose Campos and Silvestre Cortes in the 5/6-year-old age division; Frankie Gomez, Jacob Mendoza and Isaac Velasquez in the 7/8-year-old age division; Jesse Barajas in the 9/10-year-old age division; and Daniel Guillen in the 11/12-year-old age division.

The Sunnyside club also had eight other team members advance to the finals of their respective weight classes, each settling for second place honors. The state runners-up included Fabian Chavez in the 5/6-year-old age division; Zavian Sustaita in the 7/8-year-old age division; Andy Gomez, Hasson Kone and Isaac Palomino in the 9/10-year-old age division; Eric Lee Amaro and Fidel Medina in the 11/12-year-old age division; and Ryan Hernandez in the 13/14-year-old age division.

"I was so proud to see 15 of our Little Grapplers in the finals," said Daniel Guillen, head coach of the local club.

"We were hoping for more champs, but due to unfortunate events we did not. That is wrestling, though. You never know what can happen," he said.

All told, the Sunnyside club had 48 wrestlers competing at the state tourney. Along with the club's 15 wrestlers who advanced to the finals, the team also had eight third place finishers. Those youngsters included Alan Ochoa, Art Palacios, Ethan Kantman, Angel Ochoa, Noe Palomino, Abigail Elizondo, Devan Amaro and Frankie Ochoa.

"The Little Grapplers knew this was the last tournament and they knew they had to give it their all one last time...and they sure did," Guillen said.

Helping Guillen coach this year's team were Dave Amaro, Dave Mendoza, Juan Barajas, Mike Lopez, David Navarro, Lance Camp, Jorge Garcia and Phillip Blankenship.

"I would like to thank all the coaches and parents who helped this year," Guillen said. "Without them we wouldn't have a team.

"A special thanks to my wife, too," Guillen said, adding "She does a lot of things behind the scenes nobody knows about but makes the whole team run like a fine oiled machine."

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