Gonzalez, Barajas lead Grizzly contingent to State

YAKIMA - Seven Sunnyside High School wrestlers punched their tickets to the Mat Classic State Tourney in Tacoma thanks to qualifying performances at regional tourneys this past Saturday.

In boys competition, the Grizzlies had two individual champions at the Regional tourney held at West Valley High School.

The champs were Nathan Gonzalez (103 lbs.), who pinned Glacier Peak's Joseph Bratz in 3:26 in the championship bout, and Jose Barajas (285 lbs.), who outpointed Steven Taylor 9-3 in the final.

Sunnyside Coach George Paulus said Gonzalez' victory came against the number one ranked 3A wrestler in his weight class. Gonzalez, who improved his season mark to 38-0, had been ranked number two.

Barajas, 31-1 on the year, defeated the same wrestler he decisioned in the title round at Sub-Regionals the week before.

The Grizzlies advanced a second wrestler to State in the 285-lb. weight class, as Adam Peters moved on by earning third place honors. Peters defeated Koenrad Schwartz of Sedro Wooley in the consolation final.

Two other Sunnyside boys advanced to State with fourth place finishes. Gerardo Villalobos (112 lbs.) moved on after losing the consolation final 7-4 to Jaren Novakovich of East Valley of Spokane. Danny Almeida (215 lbs.) of Sunnyside heads to State after getting pinned in the consolation final by Joe Janicky of Sedro Wooley.

The Grizzlies also have a fifth place alternate, Emmanuel Tejeda (130 lbs.).

Another Grizzly just missed out on going to Tacoma as an alternate, as David Vidales (125 lbs.) ended up in sixth place.

As a team, the Grizzlies finished in fifth place at Regionals with 98.5 points. Shadle Park earned first place team honors with 142 points.

In girls Regional wrestling last week, Sunnyside advances two champions to State. Amber Rodriguez (140 lbs.) claimed top honors for the Grizzlies with a 7-3 decision over Amy Campbell of Kiona-Benton. Sunnyside's Adelany Pacheco (285 lbs.) decisioned Katherine Kenney of Mary Walker High School 8-6 in overtime to also claim a championship.

All of which means the Grizzlies will send two girls to State this Friday and Saturday, plus three alternates who all finished in third place. The alternates are Uneuenn Garcia (119 lbs.), Abigail Elizondo (135 lbs.) and Maria Olivera (160 lbs.).

The Sunnyside girls took second-place honors at Regionals as a team with 86 points, trailing only Warden's 141 points.

Aside from Gonzalez, a runner-up at State last year, none of the Grizzlies going to the Tacoma Dome this week have competed on the big stage before.

Paulus doesn't think that will be an issue.

"It's just a match and you have to go out there and perform," he said. "It's just you and the (opposing) kid and give it everything you've got."


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