BUCKLEY – One of the toughest wrestling tournaments in the state, last Saturday’s White River Invite fielded 16 teams, with Sunnyside bringing home fourth-place honors.
The Grizzlies scored 136 points, just behind Bonney Lake at 142, Yelm at 143 and champion Enumclaw at 145.
Sunnyside had two individual champions on Saturday: Jacob Mendoza (106 lbs.) defeated Levi Morton of Enumclaw 8-3 in the finals, and Homer Romero (126 lbs.) knocked off Graham-Kapowsin’s Kaleb Ogburn 7-3 to win his weight class.
Jesse Barajas (120 lbs.) advanced to the championship match for Sunnyside, where he finished runner-up after getting pinned in 53 seconds by Yelm’s Darrin Harris.
The Grizzlies also found success in the 170-lb. weight class, where Eric Silva pinned Woodinville’s Bryan Morrison in 4:43 to bring home third-place honors.
Also winning the third-place match in their respective weight classes for Sunnyside were Daniel Avalos (195 lbs.) with a 6-5 win over Snohomish’s Justin Kearney and Austin Carman (207 lbs.) with a 6-0 shutout victory over Centralia’s Bryan Due.
Jesse Torres (113 lbs.) and Noe Palomino (152 lbs.) fell short in their respective third-place matches to garner fifth place honors.
Sunnyside Coach George Paulus says he has mixed feelings about the Grizzlies’ season debut.
“I feel like we could have done much better,” he said. “I thought we would have had six guys in the champship matches.”
Even so, Paulus liked the fact his squad placed so high despite only having three wrestlers actually competing at their regular weight class.
“We’ve got so many kids turning out we kind of have to go slow here in the beginning of the season to get them started,” Paulus noted.
As for Grandview, the Greyhound wrestling team enjoyed a strong showing at the White River Invite with three medalists.
Joesiah Saunders (152 lbs.) captured first-place honors for Grandview, living up to his top seeding with a 7-2 win over Woodinville’s Dalton Mann in the title match.
In the 145-lb. weight class, Grandview’s Stevie Rodriguez garnered a third-place finish when he defeated White River’s Cody Schwab 6-3 in the consolation finals.
Greyhound Coach Jeff Sevigny noted that Rodriguez had to win three matches in a row to take the third-place prize after a tough loss in only his second match of the tourney.
Rounding out Grandview’s placers was Diego Castaneda (132 lbs.), who finished in fifth after losing his match for third-place.
Overall, Sevigny was pleased with his team’s effort at White River.
“Coming into the tournament with a very young lineup and with several wrestlers missing due to eligibility issues, placing three was not a bad outcome,” he said.
Grandview travels to Ellensburg this coming Thursday, while Sunnyside is scheduled make its home debut that same night against the Eisenhower Cadets.