RICHLAND - The Sunnyside Grizzly wrestling team doubled its contingent to Sub-Regionals today and tomorrow at Hanford High School.
The Grizzlies’ 14 varsity grapplers advance to the first round of the postseason, as well as 14 more who last Saturday earned postseason berths at the JV qualifier tourney.
“You can’t get any better than that,” Coach George Paulus says of having two wrestlers qualify in each weight class.
In 2013, Sunnyside took 27 grapplers to Sub-Regionals.
Sunnyside JV wrestlers punching their tickets to Sub-Regionals are Elias Romero (106 lbs.), Jesse Torres (113 lbs.), Andres Torres (120 lbs.), Jesus Huitron (126 lbs.), Juan Villegas (132 lbs.), Jacob Galindo (138 lbs.), Isidro Maldonado (145 lbs.), Javier Mendoza (152 lbs.), Alejandro Campos (160 lbs.), Shawn Christensen (170 lbs.), Raul Macias (182 lbs.), Austin Madrigal (195 lbs.), Arturo Hernandez (220 lbs.) and Roberto Pinedo (285 lbs.).
Advancing all 14 wrestlers from last Saturday’s JV qualifier is key for Sunnyside’s hopes to again earn a team trophy at the State tourney. In 2013, for example, Jesse Torres advanced out of the JV qualifier at 106 lbs. and went on to earn a third-place medal at State.
Sunnyside, one of the state’s top-ranked 3A wrestling programs all season, received additional good news as five Grizzlies will compete at Sub-Regionals as No. 1 seeds.
The top seed in each weight class typically either enjoys a first-round bye or takes on the lowest seeded wrestler in his group. Sunnyside’s No. 1 seeds are Jacob Mendoza (106 lbs.), Homer Romero (113 lbs.), Jesse Barajas (120 lbs.), J.J. Rodriguez (138 lbs.) and Daniel Avalos (182 lbs.).
Sub-Regionals begin this evening (Friday) at Hanford, then wraps up tomorrow. The top six finishers in each weight class advance to Regionals.
Paulus says his goal for Sub-Regionals is to at least match last year’s total of 12 wrestlers advancing to Regionals.
He says matching or improving on last year’s second-place team finish at Sub-Regionals will be a tall order. “It will be a cat fight.”