The Sunnyside High School wrestling team improved its record to 2-0 in league and 4-2 overall last night with a 45-21 home win over CBL foe Kamiakin.
The contest was closer than indicated by the final score, as the Braves were within two or three points of the Grizzlies during much of the match.
Sunnyside actually trailed early as the Grizzlies' Shawn Olivarez (130 lbs.) lost the opener to Dan McAloon.
After J.T. Gonzalez got Sunnyside on the scoreboard with a 17-1 technical fall over Chaz Rogers in the 135-lb. match, Grizzly grappler Baltazar Avalos (140 lbs.) was decisioned 8-4 by Pedro Mendoza.
Sunnyside started getting the upper hand when Caleb Gomez decisioned Kyle Miller 13-6 in the 145-lb. match and Grizzly Danny Alvarez followed by pinning Levi Vansteenkist at 152 lbs.
The scoring remained close, though, as Sunnyside's Andrew Swinehart was pinned at 160 lbs. by Ilyas Ramizov to bring Kamiakin to within 14-12.
The contest remained a see-saw affair after Sunnyside's Jesus Mendoza (171 lbs.) won by forfeit and teammate Danny Almeida was pinned by Kevin Gurganus.
Hanging on to a 20-18 lead Sunnyside turned the tide for good with a couple of surprise efforts.
First, Sunnyside's Jose Barajas battled to a 2-1 win over Alexx Arent in the 215-lb. match, despite the fact it was just his second match back from a season-opening injury.
"That was a surprise for us," said Coach George Paulus. "His opponent is a pretty tough kid." Barajas wrapped up the narrow win despite nearly surrendering a potential match-tying point in the final seconds.
The second pleasant surprise came at the 285-lb. match, where Sunnyside freshman Adam Peters was decisioned 6-1 by Kamiakin senior Kyle Suthpin, whom Paulus called one of the best wrestlers in the District.
Paulus said he considered forfeiting the match because he was concerned the much younger Peters might get injured against his seasoned opponent. A forfeit or a pin would have given Kamiakin six team points, instead of the three that Peters held Suthpin to in a decision.
What proved to be a six-point swing, Barajas' narrow win and Peters' moral victory in fending off a pin or forfeit, preserved Sunnyside's lead at 23-21.
As it turned out, Kamiakin would be shut out the rest of the way, as Sunnyside's Christian Reyes won by forfeit at 103-lbs., and the three Romero brothers combined to score 16 points in the final three matches, and turn the close contest into a rout.
"We knew they didn't have people to match up with them," Paulus said of the Romeros.
Steven Romero earned a pin for Sunnyside at 112 lbs. over Derrick Cooley, while his brothers Isaac (119 lbs.) and Josh (126 lbs.) followed with a 13-3 win and pin, respectively, over Sebale Garcia and Alex Mercado of Kamiakin.
Paulus said he was pleased with his team's victory, noting that even in the matches his squad lost they gave up few pins.
The match was the first home competition for the Sunnyside varsity wrestlers.
"It's about time!" Paulus laughed. "We do so much traveling for tournaments and in league."
The Grizzlies travel to Hanford this Thursday for a league match.