EAST WENATCHEE - Hoping to move into a first place tie with Eastmont in the 3A Columbia Basin League, the Sunnyside Grizzlies traveled to East Wenatchee last night only to lose 44-27 to the Wildcats.
The loss dropped Sunnyside's league record to 3-2, two matches behind Eastmont with one meet remaining in the season for the Grizzlies.
"They were just too powerful in the middle weights," Sunnyside Coach George Paulus explained. "We beat them in the lower weights, they beat us in the higher weights."
The meet started with the 160-lb. weight class. Eastmont would use its higher weights to jump to a 23-0 lead.
Sunnyside's Jesus Mendoza (160 lbs.) lost to Michael Robbins by a technical fall, 18-0. Paulus said this was OK because Mendoza prevented himself from getting pinned and giving Eastmont an extra point.
The next two Sunnyside wrestlers weren't as lucky.
Andrew Swinehart (171 lbs.) was pinned by Eastmont's Paul Van Horn in 1:22.
"It was experience versus inexperience," Paulus said, noting this was only Swinehart's third varsity match of the season.
In the 189-lb weight class, Sunnyside's Danny Almeida was pinned by Patrick Parazer in 2:38. Almeida was ahead in the match 2-1 when he let Parazer catch his arm. Parazer rolled Almeida on his back and the match was over.
Eastmont's Erik Magnussen (215 lbs.) then scored a decision over Jose Barajas, 5-1.
"This was a pretty good performance by Jose," Paulus said. "Erik placed eighth last year at State."
Nick Gail (285 lbs.) provided Eastmont with three points and a 23-0 lead when he beat Angelo Salazar 10-3.
"We got to watch that happen and then it was our turn," Paulus said of his team's first matches.
Behind three pins, a forfeit and a decision, the Grizzlies came storming back on the strength of its lower weights.
Steven Romero (103 lbs.) pinned Eastmont's Tyler McCall in 2:56. Romero was up 11-0 at the time of the pin.
His brother, Isaac Romero, received a forfeit to increase his record to 29-0 on the year.
At 119 lbs., Sunnyside's Ricardo Rivera pinned Michael Hart in 54 seconds.
J.T. Gonzalez (125 lbs.) gave Sunnyside the team lead, 24-23, when he beat up on Jason Wold, pinning him in 4:50.
"It was pretty one-sided," Paulus said. "J.T. was up 13-0 when he pinned him."
The Grizzlies' lead increased by three points when Eric Mejia (130 lbs.) scored a decision over Jeff Ballad, 3-0.
Paulus said his lower weights did what they needed to do, it was now up to the middle weights to decide the meet.
Eastmont regained the lead for good in the 135-lb. match. Greg Ballard pinned Sunnyside's Tomas Pena in 1:55.
"This was a match I thought we could win but it slipped away," Paulus said.
Johnny Martin pinned Sunnyside's Baltazar Avalos (140 lbs.) in 1:38 to give Eastmont a 35-27 lead.
One moment's loss of concentration allowed Eastmont's Thomas Blackwell (145 lbs.) to beat Danny Alvarez 6-4.
Alvarez was ahead in the match 4-1 to start the third round. Earlier Alvarez had received a bloody nose and had some tissue stuffed up his nose to stop the bleeding. To start the round Alvarez took the bottom position and Blackwell scored a two-point near fall on him to close to within one point.
It was then Alvarez's cotton fell out of his nose. He paused for a moment to pick it up when Blackwell took advantage of the pause to hook Alvarez's arm. This enabled him to score a three-point near fall and take a 6-4 lead. He hung on from there for the win.
With the score 38-27 and Sunnyside's Zeke Galvan (152 lbs.) injured, Paulus stopped the last match when Eastmont's Carter Nell was up 5-2.
"We couldn't win so I figured why push it," Paulus said of his decision.
"The kids wrestled hard, we just didn't have the power and experience in the middle weights to pull it off," he added.
Sunnyside will finish the regular season Thursday, Jan. 25, when they travel to West Valley for a 7 p.m. match.