PROSSER - Based on how the Sunnyside Little Grapplers fared at last Saturday's Prosser wrestling invite, the youngsters are pumped and ready for tomorrow's Jason Crawford Memorial Tournament.
"This one is where all the teams from the whole league go to," said Little Grapplers Coach Daniel Guillen. "Approximately 2,000 wrestlers will be there.
"We get to see all the other teams we don't usually see during the regular season. We refer to this (Jason Crawford Memorial) tournament as our state tournament.
"All our wrestlers look forward to this one. Anytime a wrestler takes this tourney they are considered state champions," Guillen explained, "in our little world anyway."
"We are going to this tournament confident we will represent Sunnyside well, and I expect a lot of hardware will be coming back with us.
"I predict that the other side of the state won't know what hit them," Guillen continued. "After all, I believe the toughest competition is here in the valley."
Guillen has every right to expect his youngsters will fare well this coming Saturday at the state tourney. Especially considering how they wrestled at the approximate 20-team event in Prosser last weekend. At that competition, of the 42 Sunnyside grapplers competing, 27 returned home with Top 3 placing medals.
And 10 of the medalists brought home the gold...individual titles in their respective weight classes. The first-place winners in Prosser from the Sunnyside Little Grapplers wrestling club included Oscar Alvarez, Eric Cortes, Andrew Macias and Noah Lopez (5/6-year-olds); Sylvestre Cortes (9/10-year-olds); Jacob Mendoza, Juan Ochoa Jr., Fabian Torres and Issac Palomino (11/12-year-olds); and Fidel Medina Jr. (13/14-year-olds).
Runners-up in Prosser from the Sunnyside youth wrestling club included the likes of Ruby Alvarez (7/8-year-olds); Issac Velasquez (9/10-year-olds); Daniel Cardenas and Francisco Verduzco Jr. (11/12-year-olds); and Angel Ochoa and Noe Palomino (13/14-year-olds).
The third-place medalists for Sunnyside at the Prosser invite were Miguel Flores, Jesus Ledezma and Josh Montelongo (5/6-year-olds); Abraham Arreola, Jayden Lopez and Alan Ochoa (7/8-year-olds); Clay Camp (9/10-year-olds); Christopher Martin (11/12-year-olds); and Jason Franklin, Jiovani Rodriguez and Sylvester Rodriguez (13/14-year-olds).
Guillen went on to say that much of the success of this spring season is owed to his coaches. "Because of all their hard work and countless hours of commitment to this program, that's why this program is as successful as it is," said Guillen.
The Sunnyside Little Grapplers' coaches include Lance Camp, Phil Blankenship, Mike Lopez, Raul Macias, Melchor Reyes, Ralph Cardenas and Baltazar Reyes.