FREEMAN - Going a combined 5-0 at the Freeman Invitational, Mabton's Robert Marquez (215 lbs.) and Eli Perez (285 lbs.) each won individual championships to lead the Vikings' wrestling team to a fourth place finish last Saturday.
Marquez kept his record unblemished at 16-0 by winning three matches at the tournament. In his first match of the day Marquez wasted no time in pinning Randy Lybbert of Lakeside High School, in 31 seconds. His next match was against Coeur d'Alene's Jake Holecek, whom Marquez pinned in 1:25 to set up a final against Darrick Green of Omak High School.
"Robert was ahead 4-3 when Green got an escape with five seconds left in regulation to force overtime," Mabton Coach John Kilian said.
Both wrestlers then faced each other in the standing position to start overtime. Marquez quickly took Green down to score two points and win the match.
"Neither one of them has had a close match yet," Kilian observed. "This was good for both of them."
Perez went 2-0 at the tournament and improved his overall record to 12-2 on the year. In his first match Perez faced Zack Kidwell of Coeur d'Alene, pinning him in 1:33 and setting up the final with Parker Pierce of East Valley High School in Spokane.
Perez jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the title match after a quick takedown and then a near fall. Pierce was able to escape that and then took down Perez himself to cut the lead to 5-3 before the first round ended. Perez took the down position to start the second round and did a quick escape and takedown to pad his lead to 8-3. He then pinned Pierce 1:19 into the second round.
"Eli had a good day," Kilian said. "He was sick and I was thankful he showed up at the tournament. He's doing a good job."
Mabton had three varsity wrestlers not make the trip due to illness.
Eric Meza (112 lbs.) was the sole second place finisher for Mabton. After winning his first two matches Meza was pinned by A.J. Doll of Kettle Falls High School in 2:54. Kilian said Meza was down 4-2 when he got pinned by Doll, who placed at State two years ago.
Mabton's Andy Rivera (125 lbs.) finished in third place for the Vikings. He lost in the semi-finals to Eric Start of East Valley High School in Spokane, getting pinned in 3:15 to set up his consolation round match with Brandon Shaffer of Freeman High School. Rivera beat Shaffer 7-3 in the final.
"He wrestled hard," Kilian said of Rivera's performance.
Adrian Magana used two injury defaults to give Mabton its second third place finish at the tournament. He finished 5-1 on the day with his only loss coming at the hands of Trevor Zygowski of Kettle Falls High School by an 11-8 score. Magana would have wrestled Zygowski again in the consolation final but Zygowski got injured and Magana was awarded the match, and third place, by default.
Damien Marquez was the last Mabton wrestler to place third at the tournament. He pinned Tyson Williams of Omak High School in 1:14. He finished the day with a 3-1 record and he lost to the eventual champion, Jordan Berezay of East Valley High School in Spokane, 5-3 in the semi-finals.
"He finished in a strong third place," Kilian added.
Tony Vargas (135 lbs.) went 2-2 on the day for Mabton and finished in fourth place. Junior varsity wrestler Saul Valdez (285 lbs.) finished his day at 1-2 and gave Mabton its other fourth place finish.
"It was a fun trip," Kilian said. "It was a good team-bonding trip for us."
The Mabton wrestlers will travel to Naches Thursday, Jan. 4, for a 7 p.m. match.