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Shorthanded Vikes fall at Kiona-Benton

BENTON CITY - Although lacking enough wrestlers to win the match as a team, the Mabton Viking wrestling squad had strong individual efforts in a 58-24 loss last night at Kiona-Benton.

Three Mabton grapplers recorded pins to lead the Vikes in Thursday's non-league tilt, including Emiliano Rodriguez (120 lbs.), who pinned Ki-Be's Seth Garcia in 1:45.

Vicente Mireles (132 lbs.) followed for the Vikes with a pin over Cameron Clary in 3:52.

The Bears' Karem Johnson was then pinned in 3:14 by Mabton's Brandon Marquez in the 160-lb. weight class.

Mabton's boys wrestling team received one more boost from Noemi Gutierrez (113 lbs.), as she accepted a forfeit for the Vikes.

Two other Mabton wrestlers, Rudy Ramirez (182 lbs.) and Isaac Velasquez (195 lbs.), were pinned.

Velasquez, a freshman, faced defending state champion Cruz DelAngel in his match. "A freshman against a returning state champ is not a good match-up," said Mabton Coach John Kilian. "But there's not much you can do when that's all you have."

Overall, Kilian was pleased with his shorthanded team's effort lat night.

"We did okay," he said of the boys team in recording three pins in five head-to-head matches. "We have to be thankful for the small victories because it's tough to win a dual meet with so few wrestlers."

In other action last night, Mabton and Ki-Be also held three girls matches. No team points were recorded.

There, too, Mabton showed strength in winning two of the three matches.

It all started at 106 lbs., where Lady Viking Cassandra Moreno was pinned. But after that Mabton reeled off back-to-back victories to close out the night.

First up at 118 lbs. was Mary Gutierrez, who earned a 5-1 decision for the Lady Vikes over Ki-Be's Kristina Mendoza.

The final girls match was at 137 lbs., where Mabton's Jesenia Meza swooped in for a pin in 4:16 over the Bears' Alisia Prado.

Tomorrow, Saturday, the Mabton boys will wrestle at the Grandview tourney, while the Lady Vikes are scheduled to head to Sunnyside for a girls/boys JV tourney.

"The biggest thing is keep getting experience, mat time," Kilian said of his goal for the girls and boys teams at tomorrow's tourneys. "We need to get prepared for Districts, get used to the tourney environment."

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