FREEMAN - "We had a pretty good day," said Mabton wrestling Coach John Kilian of this past Saturday's third place performance at the Freeman Winter Classic.
The Vikings varsity team had one champion at the tournament, Damien Marquez, who wrestled three bouts in the 215-lb. weight class. He pinned Ty Browning of Liberty in 1:07 during his first match, then moved on to pin Sean Thomas of Lakeside JV in 59 seconds.
Marquez grappled with A.J. Guirdry of Medical Lake for the championship and earned a hard-fought 3-2 decision.
"It was a battle...the two were tied 2-2 going into the last round of the match and Damien was on the bottom," recounted Kilian. He said Marquez winked at him with just more than 20 seconds on the clock. "Then, he did a reversal for an escape," Kilian said with amusement in his voice.
"A.J. was really strong...it was impressive because the kid controlled Damien and then...boom!" Kilian commented.
Kilian said the Freeman Winter Classic was a wild tournament, with 13 teams participating. "We were happy with third," he said.
East Valley-Spokane JV won the tournament with 189 points, Medical Lake varsity was runner-up with 167.5 points and the Vikings earned 154 points.
The Vikings had three runner-ups at the tournament, including Luis Aviles (125 lbs.), Eric Meza (130 lbs.) and Angelo Salinas (171 lbs.).
"Angelo suffered his first loss of the season," said Kilian, stating Salinas lost a defensive match to Caleb Davis of Coeur D' Alene, Idaho by a 1-0 decision in the finals.
The first of his three bouts was won by pin over Damien Chambers of Liberty and the second was a 17-5 decision over Rich Mehlbrech of East Valley-Spokane JV.
Aviles won three bouts to advance to the finals, where he lost a 14-8 decision to Shane Lee of East Valley-Spokane JV.
He won his first two matches by technical fall. Aviles defeated Mike Martin of Lakeside JV 20-4 and Daniel Stauffer of Davenport 19-2. The third match-up was against Nolan Miller of Ritzville and Aviles earned the pin in 3:15.
Meza won his first match by pin over Alex Rockstrom of East Valley-Spokane JV in 3:34. He advanced to earn a hard-fought victory (8-6) over John Daniels of Medical Lake.
In Meza's final battle, he was pinned in 5:21 by Daniel O'Shaughnessy of Kittitas.
"Eric has not been able to defeat Daniel since the seventh grade, when the duo first met," said Kilian.
Third place honors for the Vikings were earned by Jerry Quesada (103 lbs.), Andy Rivera (140 lbs.) and Daniel Magallon (119 lbs.).
Mabton will travel to Highland for its next competition on the mats this coming Thursday, Jan. 8.