WENATCHEE – The first bout was essentially host Wenatchee’s last hurrah, as the Sunnyside Grizzly wrestling team cruised to a 48-15 victory last night.
In the final dual match of the season for both teams, the Panthers earned a pin in the very first match Thursday evening, only to lose the next six tilts and 11 of the last 13.
“I thought it was going to be closer, but hey it’s always good to travel 120 miles and get a win,” said Sunnyside Coach George Paulus.
The victory gives Sunnyside (4-1) second-place honors in Columbia Basin Big Nine League competition behind unbeaten Moses Lake.
Xavier Cortez (285 lbs.) got the Grizzlies on track in last night’s second match, nipping Armando Cortez 4-3.
Sunnyside grabbed the team lead for good in the third bout, when Jesse Torres (113 lbs.) earned a 14-3 major decision over Drake Lewis.
In the 120-lb. match, Jesse Barajas sustained the Grizzlies’ momentum with a pin in 3:32 over Noel Suarez.
After Wenatchee surrendered a forfeit at 126 lbs., Sunnyside’s Anthony Chavez (132 lbs.) followed with a 10-5 thumping of Andrew Lape.
Sunnyside’s streak of six consecutive wins wrapped up at 138 lbs., when J.J. Rodriguez got the better of Cody Schuyleman, 9-4.
After the Panthers recorded their second win of the night, Sunnyside’s Andy Gomez (152 lbs.) brought the Grizzlies back with a pin in 3:56 over Carl Brandt.
Wenatchee’s third and final victory came at 160 lbs., which was followed by three consecutive Grizzly wins to wrap up the evening.
Sunnyside’s final drive started at 170 lbs., where Gerardo Lepez earned a convincing 15-0 technical fall over Joe Zehnder.
At 182 lbs., Grizzly Daniel Avalos scored an 11-2 major decision over Koel Davis.
The evening wrapped up at 195 lbs., as Sunnyside’s Isaac Palomino earned an 11-4 victory over Eli Barnett.
Paulus says Sunnyside’s wrestlers not only performed well on the scoreboard last night, but did a good job with technical aspects of the sport.
“The kids are looking good,” he said.
And, it would appear, looking good at just the right time as tomorrow, Saturday, the postseason begins with a JV qualifier at Kennewick.
The top three finishers in each weight class at the JV qualifier will join varsity grapplers at Sub-Regionals Feb. 7-8.