KENNEWICK - Southridge gave the visiting Grizzly wrestling team a run for its money Thursday night. But notching five pins, one technical fall and two major decisions against the Suns, Sunnyside made off with a 46-28 win.
Last night's road victory improved Sunnyside's 3A Columbia Basin Big Nine League record to 3-0 on the season.
Racking up a combined 30 team points for the Grizzlies, via pins, were Jesse Barajas, Nathan Gonzalez, Isaac Guerrero, Sam Romero and Austin Carman.
Barajas, at 106 lbs., started fast against his Southridge opponent by taking control early. The Grizzly quickly wore him down, turning him onto his back midway through the opening period for the fall.
Gonzalez, wrestling at 132 lbs., was just as dominant against his Southridge foe. The Sunnyside grappler scored his pin in the second period.
Guerrero also notched a second period pin in his 145-lb. match.
Romero, at 170 lbs., found the going a bit tougher than did Guerrero, Gonzalez and Barajas. Romero, at the outset, was in a dog fight with the Suns' Bruce Overhoff.
"It was very tight at the beginning of that one," said SHS Coach George Paulus. Romero finally got the better of the Southridge wrestler, midway through the final period, by turning him and registering the fall.
Carman, only a sophomore, had to face an experienced senior in his 220-lb. bout. The Sunnyside underclassman gave no quarter, however, building a lead until he finally pinned the Southridge athlete late in the third period.
Scoring the only technical fall on the night for Sunnyside, worth five team points, was Isidro Ramirez at 138 lbs. The match was stopped when Ramirez got ahead by a 20-3 score.
The Grizzlies also used the two major decisions, each worth four team points, notched by Santos Guerrero at 120 lbs. and Miguel Guzman at 195 lbs. to skate past the host Suns. Guerrero prevailed by a 13-3 decision, and Guzman was victorious by a 15-3 count.
Paulus said for Guzman, last night's effort was probably his best of the season to date. "I was pleased with his performance," said Paulus, noting that Guzman continually had his foe on his back throughout the entire bout.
The one other victory Sunnyside claimed against Southridge came in the 126-lb. match. The Grizzlies' Christian Ruiz scratched out a small lead on his opponent, and despite getting turned and giving up near fall points towards the end of the battle, eked out a 4-3 decision.
"That one was tooth-and-nail all the way," said Paulus.
The Suns ended up winning five of the 14 individual matches.
The Grizzly loss that troubled Paulus the most came at 113 lbs., with Homer Romero taking on Southridge's Trenton Nett.
"I was kind of disappointed. Homer wasn't very inspired last night," said Paulus.
Even though Romero wasn't displaying his best stuff, the Grizzly found himself in a 3-3 tie with Nett in the third period. Romero, said Paulus, didn't think he could ride him out the rest of the way, so elected to let him go and give up the one-point escape.
"The idea was to then get the (2-point) takedown and grab the lead," Paulus said.
Unfortunately, Romero didn't have any gitty-up left and failed to aggressively shoot for the takedown. Nett finally caught Romero with a move and took the Grizzly to his back, pinning him with just seven seconds remaining.
The SHS wrestling team will compete at the Yakima Valley SunDome Invitational this coming Saturday. The Grizzlies will then be out of action until Wednesday, Dec. 28, when they travel to compete at the Hanford Invitational.