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Grizzlies invite champs

ELLENSBURG - The Sunnyside Grizzly wrestling team continued its best season in years this past Saturday, cruising to the team title at the Ray Westburg Invite in Ellensburg.

The Grizzlies have placed first in four of the five tournaments they've been in this season.

Sunnyside scored 231 team points, with Othello well back at 184 points and Edmonds-Woodway third at 132 points.

Four Grizzlies claimed individual championships, starting at 103 lbs., where Jesse Barajas earned the crown by defeating Omar Gomez of Wapato 3-2 in the finals. Barajas clung to the slim lead throughout the final round.

Nathan Gonzalez (119 lbs.) also took top honors with a 4-1 win in the title match over Sultan's Garrett Varnell. Sunnyside's Daniel Guillen claimed first place honors at 125 lbs. with an 11-2 major decision over Christian Almeda of Kittitas in the finals.

Rounding out Sunnyside's four champions was Josh Romero (152 lbs.), who earned the title by rallying from a 2-1 deficit to defeat Eisenhower's Humberto Acevedo 4-3 in the championship bout.

The two Grizzly runner-ups were Santos Guillen (112 lbs.), who was pinned in the finals, and Adam Peters (285 lbs.), who battled through two overtimes in the finals before losing 4-1 to Selah's Richie Rodriguez.

Third place honors went to Sunnyside's Isaac Guerrero (130 lbs.) with a 13-3 major decision over Selah's Kody Ergeson.

Emmanuel Tejeda (140 lbs.) held on for a 5-0 victory to claim third place honors over Nathan Molina of East Valley.

The other two Grizzlies to win their respective third/fifth place matches were Adrian Ramirez (189 lbs.) in a 6-1 win over Ike's Andrez Acevedo, and Franki Ochoa (215 lbs.) with a pin in 1:15 over Edmonds-Woodway's Nathan Molina.

Lupe Mendoza (171 lbs.) brought home fifth place honors for Sunnyside. He was pinned in the third/fifth place match by Edmonds-Woodway's Zach Perez.

"It was a very good tournament," Sunnyside Coach George Paulus said of the 15-team invite. "We were fortunate it was close to home and it was more competitive with bigger teams."

Sunnyside faces its most important match of the regular season this Thursday, when it travels to Pasco for what is essentially the league championship. Both squads are 5-0 in league dual meets.

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