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Mabton fourth at Royal Rumble

ROYAL CITY - The Mabton Viking grapplers traveled to Royal City for the Royal Rumble this past Saturday.

They came away with fourth place honors at the 15-team tournament.

Two Vikings made it to the finals, Carlos Mendez (119 lbs.) and Andy Rivera (140 lbs.), and earned runner-up honors.

Mendez won his first two bouts by 15-5 and 4-3 decisions before facing Jake Smith of Othello in the finals. Smith earned a second round pin (2:19) over Mendez for the championship win.

Rivera won his first bout by a 14-4 decision over Tanner Wallace of Kittitas. Rivera moved on to win a 7-4 decision over Omar Gomez of Royal City. In the championship round, Rivera grappled with Jeff Vik of Wahkiakim and lost a 4-3 decision.

"He (Rivera) needed a takedown in the last minute and couldn't get it," commented Mabton Coach John Kilian.

Mabton's Arturo Nunez (135 lbs.) had a bye in the first round of his weight division's competition. He won his first bout 11-5 over Royal City's Roman Trujillo and moved into the semi-finals to face off with Kittitas' Dylan Holden. Nunez was pinned in 3:07 by Holden and dropped into the loser's bracket for the third/fifth place bout. Nunez made quick work by pinning Andrew Bekmann of St. John Endicott in 41 seconds. Nunez took home third place honors.

Viking Damien Marquez (215 lbs.) was another of the team's third place finishers. He beat Matt DeLeon of Warden with a 15-5 decision, but in his second bout, Marquez was pinned in 1:17 by Colfax's Ethan Smith. That loss dropped Marquez into the third/fifth place match against Justin Kincade of Royal City. Marquez quickly dropped Kincade and pinned him in 13 seconds.

Eric Meza competed for Mabton in the 125-lb. weight class at the Royal Rumble. He lost in the semi-finals for third place honors after winning two matches over wrestlers from Othello and Lake Roosevelt.

In the semi-final bout, Meza was defeated 14-4 by Columbia-Burbank's Trevor Morrison.

"He (Meza) gets behind and it's like an avalanche," said Kilian, stating Meza isn't fighting back mentally.

Three Vikings earned fourth place honors at the Royal Rumble. They included Jerry Quesada (103 lbs.), Daniel Magallon (119 lbs.) and Sal Lopez (189 lbs.). Winning fifth place honors for Mabton was Luis Aviles in the 130-lb. weight class.

The Vikings will hit the mat against Zillah this coming Thursday at home. Kilian said he is looking forward to the match-up. "It should be good," he stated.

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