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Gonzalez, Barajas lead Sunnyside to 4th place finish at Sub-Regionals

SPOKANE - The Sunnyside Grizzly wrestling team made its presence felt at the 3A Sub-Regional tourney in Spokane this past Saturday.

The Grizzlies earned fourth-place honors and advanced eight wrestlers on to the Regional tourney this coming Saturday in Yakima.

Leading Sunnyside were Nathan Gonzalez (103 lbs.) and Jose Barajas (285 lbs.), who both claimed first-place honors for Sunnyside.

Gonzalez earned his top prize by pinning Chris Douglas of Rogers High School in the championship round, while Barajas edged Steven Taylor of North Central by a score of 2-1 in the title bout.

The Grizzlies also had three wrestlers earn third place honors.

Emmanuel Tejeda (130 lbs.) finished third when he decisioned East Valley of Spokane's Drew Keller by a a score of 7-4 in the consolation finals.

Caleb Gomez (152 lbs.) brought home third place honors when he pinned Cody Bruland of West Valley of Yakima in overtime.

Sunnyside's trifecta of third place finishers wrapped up at 215 lbs., where Danny Almeida decisioned Seth Heckle of Mount Spokane 7-4.

The other three Grizzly wrestlers to punch their tickets to Regionals earned the fourth and final berths in their respective weight classes.

Gerardo Villalobos (112 lbs.) finished fourth when he lost the consolation finals to Casey Ourada of East Valley of Spokane by a score of 9-3.

Likewise, David Vidales (125 lbs.) earned a fourth place finish for Sunnyside when he was pinned by Alex Rockstrom of East Valley of Spokane.

The third Grizzly to earn fourth place honors was Adam Peters (285 lbs.), who lost in the consolation finals when he was pinned by Aaron Christiansen of East Valley of Spokane.

Sunnyside also had five wrestlers earn a trip to Regionals as alternates in their respective weight classes: Jaime Gonzalez (103 lbs.), Santos Guerrero (112 lbs.), Daniel Guillen (119 lbs.), Isidro Ramirez (135 lbs.) and Lupe Mendoza (171 lbs.).

Though they won't make the trip, two other Grizzlies earned sixth place honors at Sub-Regionals, Andy Cantu (145 lbs.) and Adrian Ramirez (189 lbs.).

Overall, the Grizzlies earned 243 points to place fourth. The Sub-Regional champion was North Central of Spokane with 304.5 points.

Sunnyside Coach George Paulus said he was hoping more Grizzlies could advance, but also recognized the Grizzlies are taking one more wrestler to Regionals than they did a year ago.

"We have one more than last year and we ended up fifth at State," Paulus said. "We have two viable guys with state caliber potential, but the third placers are on the bubble and have to improve."

The Regional tourney will be held this Saturday at West Valley High School in Yakima. The top four finishers there advance to the State tourney in Tacoma.

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