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Mabton Vikings place fourth at Freeman Tournament

FREEMAN - The Mabton High School wrestling team picked up its second fourth-place finish in a week this past Saturday, while competing at the Freeman Tournament.

Competing against nine other teams, the Vikings fielded one champion at the tournament and had four wrestlers earn second-place honors.

The Vikings' lone champion last weekend was Eli Perez (285 lbs.) who went 3-0 at the tournament.

Perez didn't get much work at the tourney because he never had to wrestle past the first round. The senior dominated all three wrestlers by pinning them.

He first pinned Bryon Cummings of Potlatch, Idaho in 1:27. Next was Drew Moreno of Couer d' Alene, who Perez took down in just 45 seconds. In the final, Perez pinned Liberty High School's John Nelson in 1:04.

"He dominated," Mabton Coach John Kilian said. "This Nelson was a big, strong kid. He was at least 6'4". He didn't have the balance and feel of the mat that Eli did, though."

At 119 lbs., Mabton's Eric Meza took second-place honors for the Vikings. In his first match he pinned Alfredo Monge of Medical Lake High School in 2:36. Meza was ahead 4-0 to start the second round on two take downs.

He then beat Derek Knecht of Liberty High School by a technical fall, 21-4.

Kilian described the match as a wild one. Meza was ahead 15-4 after the first round and then was able to get the technical fall.

In the finals, Meza lost to Couer d' Alene's Braden Mowery by a pin in 2:43.

"This kid (Mowery) hasn't lost in high school," Kilian said. "He was ahead of Eric 7-1 when he got the pin."

It was Meza's third second place medal this year.

Also placing second for Mabton was Andy Rivera (130 lbs.). He started off with a victory over Becky Gilreath of Chewelah High School. Rivera pinned her in 2:57.

"He was pretty gentle with her," Kilian said. "She was real good at defending."

He next beat John Daniels of Medical Lake in a 12-10 decision.

"It was a barn burner," Kilian recalled. "It was a good match. Andy got a takedown in overtime for the win."

Kilian said the match was a see-saw battle. Rivera was up in points in the match but gave away the lead in the last round. He then had to catch up to force the match into overtime.

In the finals he lost to Brandon Shaffer of Freeman High School 5-4.

"He just couldn't score," Kilian said of Rivera's attempts in the final round. "Shaffer just rode him out that last round.

Mabton's Tony Vargas also finished in second for the Vikings with a record of 1-1. After picking up a first-round bye, Vargas beat Andrew Ryan of Medical Lake High School by pinning him in 1:11.

In the finals, Vargas lost to Ethan Fulbright of Chewelah High School 9-5.

"He (Vargas) gave up two near-fall points at the end when he was trying to get away," Kilian explained.

Mabton's last second place finisher was Angelo Salinas (160 lbs.) who went 2-1 on the day.

Salinas beat Chewelah High School's Sam Fisk 14-10 in a high scoring battle.

He then beat Tim Tanner of East Valley (Spokane) by a pin in 4:50. Salinas was ahead 14-0 at the time.

In the finals, Salinas lost to Omak High School's Robert Miller by pin in 47 seconds.

"It was pretty good to have five wrestlers make the top two," Kilian said. "We only had 12 kids wrestling representing only 10 weight classes."

Mabton's Carlos Mendez finished 2-2 and took fourth place in the 112-lb. weight class. He lost his final match to Carl Siegwarth of Couer d' Alene by a pin in 1:23.

Another Mabton wrestler who placed was Arturo Nunez (135 lbs.), who went 2-2 and placed fifth.

"Overall we did pretty well," Kilian said. "We fought hard and came home feeling good about it."

Mabton will next host Naches High School for a meet this Thursday, Jan. 3, at 7 p.m. The Vikings will then participate at the Grandview Invite Saturday, Jan. 5.

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