PASCO - It was all Sunnyside all day, as the Grizzly wrestling team claimed the team title in a rout at the CBBN 3A District tourney this past Saturday in Pasco.
The Grizzlies won with 418.5 points, followed by host Pasco well back at 180.5.
Sunnyside had six individual champions and, in all, advanced 24 wrestlers to Regionals this Saturday, also in Pasco. Claiming top honors for the Grizzlies were Santos Guerrero (112 lbs.), Nathan Gonzalez (119 lbs.), Isaac Guerrero (130 lbs.), Isidro Ramirez (135 lbs.), Josh Romero (145 lbs.) and Adam Peters (285 lbs.).
The Grizzlies also saw five wrestlers claim second-place honors: Jesse Barajas (103 lbs.), Daniel Guillen (125 lbs.), Rigo Valdez (130 lbs.), Miguel Guzman (189 lbs.) and Franki Ochoa (215 lbs.).
Also punching their ticket to Regionals for the Grizzlies were Lupe Mendoza (171 lbs.) and David Vidales (140 lbs.) with third place finishes.
Claiming fourth place honors for Sunnyside were Emmanuel Tejeda (140 lbs.), Miguel Madrigal (152 lbs.) and Daniel Avalos (189 lbs.). Grizzlies advancing with fifth place finishes were Homer Romero (103 lbs.), Alex Nunez (145 lbs.), Jaime Garcia (160 lbs.), Alex Isiordia (171 lbs.), Austin Carmen (215 lbs.) and Ely Gonzalez (285 lbs.).
Rounding out the Sunnyside 3A Regional contingent are sixth-place finishers Juan Barajas (135 lbs.) and Jorge Ramirez (152 lbs.). Due to an elbow injury suffered at Districts this past Saturday, Ramirez will not be able to compete at Regionals.
Aside from Ramirez' injury, Districts went just about the way Sunnyside had hoped it would.
"We did what we expected to do, we wanted 10 or 11 guys in the finals," said Coach George Paulus. Paulus said he thought the Grizzlies might have been able to claim a couple of more individual championships, but overall was pleased with the outcome.
And it puts Sunnyside in position to potentially qualify several wrestlers for State.
"We think we can get eight or nine to state. That would put us in the mix for a state title," Paulus said.
He cautioned, though, that Regionals will be a battle and that only the top three placers in each weight class advance to the Mat Classic state tourney in Tacoma.
"Regionals is always very competitive," Paulus said. "Some kids rise to the challenge and some don't. I've seen the wheels fall off the cart before."
In other District wrestling news, Paulus was named the CBBN 3A Coach of the Year. Nathan Gonzalez and Josh Romero of Sunnyside earned Wrestler of the Year titles for the upper and lower weight classes, respectively.
Also this past weekend, Paulus said his team's girls wrestling program advanced several wrestlers to Regionals this Saturday in Connell. In the process, the Lady Grizzlies captured the district team title with 195 points. Mabton was second with 94 points.
Paulus noted that Sunnyside's girls wrestlers advancing are (in order of weight class): Kayla Gonzalez (third, 112 lbs.), Yunuenn Garcia (first, 119 lbs.), Dezma Hernandez (fourth, 119 lbs.), Lidia Gonzalez (fourth, 125 lbs.), Abigail Elizondo (second, 140 lbs.), Veronica Olivera (second 145 lbs.), Maria Olivera (first, 152 lbs.), Margarita Barcenas (third, 152 lbs.), Evoni Alvarado (second, 160 lbs.) and Adeleny Pacheco (second, 285 lbs.).