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Grizzlies clinch 54th consecutive winning season

KENNEWICK - Dwight Eisenhower was president and Alaska wasn't even a state when the Sunnyside High School wrestling team last had a losing season in dual match competition.

Last night, the 2009-10 Grizzlies made it 54 winning seasons in a row for the program with a 44-30 victory at Southridge High School.

Thursday night's victory gave Sunnyside a 7-1 record in dual matches this season to clinch a winning record.

Isidro Ramirez opened the match for Sunnyside at 135 lbs. and promptly outdecisioned the Suns' Blaze Larsen 11-3.

Sunnyside's Miguel Madrigal (140 lbs.) followed with a pin over Alex Gorman in 3:13.

Southridge fought back with three consecutive victories to take a 15-10 lead over the Grizzlies.

The Suns' rally started with Will McNamara (145 lbs.) pinning Sunnyside's Andy Cantu in 1:27.

Southridge's Tamrich Perez (152 lbs.) followed with a 10-1 win over Caleb Gomez and the Suns' Kevin DelAngel (160 lbs.) pinned Sunnyside's Ryan Hernandez in 3:10.

As they have all season, the Grizzlies rallied with a string of victories, winning six bouts in a row against Southridge to clinch the match.

It all started with Sunnyside's Lupe Mendoza (171 lbs.) pinning Josh Fischer in 2:26.

Sunnyside's Alex Isiordia (189 lbs.) followed that by earning a 13-1 major decision over Julian Aleman.

Daniel Almeida (215 lbs.) earned a pin for the Grizzlies by dispatching Randy Harris in just 24 seconds.

Frankie Ochoa (285 lbs.) kept the Grizzly momentum going by pinning Matt Gibson in 1:43.

Sunnyside Coach George Paulus praised the effort of his wrestlers in the heavier weight classes for rallying the Grizzlies.

"The key to the match was Danny (Almeida) and Frankie (Ochoa) bringing the hammer toward the center of the match," Paulus said. "Southridge has some good wrestlers, but they (Almeida and Ochoa) put us out far enough that they (the Suns) couldn't catch up."

Sunnyside's Nathan Gonzalez (103 lbs.) made it five wins in a row for the Grizzlies by improving his season record to 24-0 with a pin over Andre Nett in 3:07.

Gerardo Villalobos (112 lbs.) received a forfeit to wrap up Sunnyside's last victory of the night.

Trailing 44-15, Southridge won the final three matches of the night, but it was far too little, too late.

The Suns' Ricky Vinson (119 lbs.) got the late surge going by earning a pin over Daniel Guillen in 5:09.

Eli Garza (125 lbs.) of Southridge then pinned Sunnyside's David Vidales in 3:56.

The Suns ended their losing effort on a winning note, as Southridge's Connor Rosane (130 lbs.) decisioned Emmanuel Tejeda 6-4 in overtime.

Paulus also praised some of his athletes who previously weren't getting the proper nutrition.

"The kids who weren't dieting well are improving," he said. "They wrestled well."

A sure sign that the 2009-10 regular season is reaching the home stretch, Sunnyside travels to its final invite prior to the postseason when it competes at the Hoquiam Invite tomorrow, Saturday.

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