Torres, Barajas spark Sunnyside at Regionals

Grizzlies qualify eight for State


SNOHOMISH - Thanks to several clutch victories in consolation matches, the Sunnyside Grizzly wrestling team grabbed fourth-place team honors during last Saturday’s Regional tourney at Glacier Peak High School.

Sunnyside tallied 124.5 team points, topped only by Spokane schools University (197 points), Mt. Spokane (163.5) and North Central (130.5).

The Grizzlies took 10 grapplers to the 3A Regional tourney, and had eight qualify for the State tourney at the Mat Classic in Tacoma this coming Friday and Saturday.

Leading the way were Jesse Torres (113 lbs.) and Jesse Barajas (120 lbs.), who claimed championships in their respective weight classes. Torres claimed the top spot with a 9-3 win in the title match over Hanford’s Blake Llarenas. Barajas won the championship with a 9-0 thumping in the finale over Mt. Spokane’s Alec Hoover.

But Sunnyside’s team fate was decided in the consolation rounds, as six Grizzlies had to battle back through the lower bracket to earn one of the four State berths in each weight class.

For example, Homer Romero lost 2-1 in overtime to Torres at 113 lbs., then rallied back with two wins in loser-out matches before facing Tyler Almaguer of Kamiakin in the third/fourth place match. Romero prevailed 11-4 in that match.

Sunnyside also advanced two wrestlers at 106 lbs., where Jacob Mendoza and Elias Romero garnered third and fourth place honors, respectively, to both punch their tickets to State. Their final standing at Regionals was decided in the third/fourth place match, where Romero had to default due to a shoulder injury.

Isaac Palomino (195 lbs.) earned third place honors for Sunnyside with a pin in 2:13 over Mulkiteo’s Brett Potter in the third/fourth place match.

Anthony Chavez (132 lbs.) and Noe Palomino (145 lbs.) secured the fourth and final berth to State for Sunnyside in their respective weight classes.

Traveling with the Sunnyside team as an alternate will be Andy Gomez (152 lbs.), who was fifth in his weight class.

Sunnyside Coach George Paulus is tickled to have so many of his wrestlers, eight out of 10, move on to State. University, by contrast, had 21 wrestlers compete at Regionals and only advanced seven.

Sunnyside will look to again earn a podium position at the 3A State tourney, as it did last year, or battle for a state title.

Paulus says the key to Sunnyside’s success in Tacoma this week will be strong performances from the lighter weight classes.

It’s a tough proposition, Paulus adds, as Sunnyside’s three fourth-place finishers at Regionals will each have to face the top seed in their weight class at State.

“It’s a crapshoot,” he said. “We’ll just have to have strong performances and get some points out of our fourth-place guys. They’ll have tough matches to start but anything can happen.”


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