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Grizzlies Hoquiam Invite champs

HOQUIAM - The Sunnyside Grizzly wrestling team was dominant in grabbing first place honors at the Hoquiam Invite this past weekend.

The Grizzlies scored 287.5 points to claim top honors in the 11-team event, followed by Steilacoom in a distant second place with 164 points.

Sunnyside had a total of 17 wrestlers medal at the invite, six of them earning titles.

Nathan Gonzalez (103 lbs.) was one of those six individual champions for the Grizzlies, posting a 3-0 record. His championship finals opponent, Lucke Schell of Steilacoom, was unable to compete due to an injury.

Gerardo Villalobos of Sunnyside (112 lbs.) claimed top honors by defeating R.A. Long High School's Tanner Ackerly 5-2 in the finals. Emmanuel Tejeda (130 lbs.) also won his weight class by pinning Elma's Luke Boyer in 4:34.

The champ in the 135-lb. weight class was Isidro Ramirez of Sunnyside, who pinned Aberdeen's Tanner Martin in 4:43.

Sunnyside had an unexpected individual champ at 215 lbs., when JV wrestler Frankie Ochoa pinned Mike Bowe of Elma in the finals. Bowe had previously in the tourney knocked off another Grizzly varsity wrestler, Danny Almeida.

The final champ for Sunnyside was Jose Barajas (285 lbs.), who defeated teammate Adam Peters 2-0 in the championship finals.

Peters was one of three Grizzlies to earn second place honors.

Also finishing in a runner-up position was Alex Isiordia (189 lbs.) of Sunnyside, who lost 15-3 in the finals to James Watkins of Steilacoom.

Sunnyside's other second-place finisher was David Vidales (125 lbs.), who lost the title bout to Josh Johnson of R.A. Long, 7-3.

The Grizzlies also had several wrestlers finish in third place; Daniel Guillen (119 lbs.), Jaime Gonzalez (103 lbs.), Miguel Madrigal (140 lbs.), Caleb Gomez (152 lbs.), Ryan Hernandez (160 lbs.), Lupe Mendoza (171 lbs.) and Danny Almeida (215 lbs.)

Sunnyside had one other medal winner at the invite, Alex Nunez (135 lbs.), who rallied from a first-round loss to claim fifth-place honors.

Sunnyside Coach George Paulus said the caliber of the competition at Hoquiam wasn't quite as difficult as what the Grizzlies have faced at some tourneys.

Even so, the last regular season invite was a fine tune-up for the postseason, Paulus noted.

"It was a good prime up for the postseason. You still had to put together a string of matches and work on consistency," he said. "We wrestled strong against some pretty good competition. It pretty much all went our way."

Sunnyside returns to league competition this coming Thursday when it hosts Kennewick at 7 p.m.

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