The road to Mat Classic starts this weekend

February 6, 2014 

On paper, the District 5/8 sub-regional tournament looks to be generous, advancing six wrestlers to regionals. But as the saying goes, looks can be deceiving.

“We have a tough sub-regional,” said Kamiakin coach Jordan Anderson. “University, Sunnyside, North Central and Mt. Spokane are tough. U-Hi won last year and they are even tougher this year. Most of the guys that come out of here end up placing at state, but you have to battle to get out of here first.”

Action begins at 5 p.m. today at Hanford High School, and resumes at 10 a.m. Saturday. Finals are expected to start at 3 p.m. Saturday.

The University Titans ran away with the sub-regional title last year, topping second-place Sunnyside 360.5-258. They have two returning sub-regional champions in Austin Stannard (sr., 170) and Tate Orndorff (jr., 285), but they are deep at several weight classes.

“We have a pretty balanced team,” said U-Hi coach Don Owen, “but we have a really tough regional — it’s as hard as the state tournament. There are some weights we have some really good kids, but our regional is so tough. It will be a bit of a blood bath. There will be some heartbreaks, especially next week, when we only take four (to state).”

The top six in each weight class from sub-regionals move on to regionals Feb. 15 at Glacier Peak High School in Snohomish.

The Braves, with a roster diminished by injuries, suffered through a winless season in the Mid-Columbia Conference. They have a couple of guys back, but Jr. Pina (138) was lost for the postseason when his wrist did not heal properly.

Juniors Tyler Almaguer (113) and Damien Gooldy (132) are back in the lineup, and Anderson has high hopes for them.

“Tyler is in a tough weight class,” Anderson said. “Both the Sunnyside boys (Jesse Torres and Homer Romero) are there, but we expect him to hold his own against those guys.”

Almaguer is 22-1 with 19 pins this season. His lone loss is to Sunnyside’s Jesse Barajas (29-1), who will compete at 120. Gooldy (20-4) has been out with a knee injury.

“It will be a dog fight to get guys out,” Anderson said. “Everyone starts 0-0 on Friday and it depends who shows up to wrestle. We have some guys starting to peak right now and hopefully they will come out and surprise some guys.”

Southridge has four solid wrestlers who should move onto regionals next week.

Bryce Overholt, who won at 182 last year, has dropped down to 170 and will have his hands full with Stannard, but he has a good résumé coming into the tournament. He is 25-2, with one loss an injury default in the Best of the West finals in December.

“He has had a big year for us,” Suns coach John Hogg said of Overholt.

Also bidding for regional slots are Lidon Reams (145), Marcus Surita (220) and Trent Nett (132), who was a state alternate last year as a sophomore.

“Trent has been tearing it up lately,” Hogg said. “My kids are excited for this weekend and they have been working hard.”

This week’s 3A state team rankings have Sunnyside on top, followed by University, Decatur, North Central and Mt. Spokane rounding out the top 5.

“Sunnyside is very, very good in the lower weights, as are their 45 and 82 pounders,” Owen said. “And they are two deep in the lower weight. I don’t think they have as much balance as we do. We have a good team. We just hope we can get enough to the state tournament. There will be some good guys who will be left at home.”

Along with Romero, Torres and Barajas, the Grizzlies have a solid threat at 106 in Jacob Mendoza (27-1).

“I think they have earned it,” Sunnyside coach George Paulus said of his team’s ranking. “All of them are having a good year. We had a couple of injuries and that has hurt. We did pretty good last year and most of them are back this year. There are some really good top-end kids in this regional, but if our kids perform like I think they can, we can get a pretty good state crew.”

District 5/8 Sub-regionals

Where: Hanford High School. When: 5 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. Saturday. Finals at 3 p.m.

Admission: $7 for adults, $5 for students and seniors. There is not a 2-day pass.

What you need to know: The event includes schools from the Mid-Columbia Conference (Hanford, Kamiakin, Kennewick, Southridge, Sunnyside) and the Greater Spokane League (University, North Central, Shadle Park, Rogers, Mt. Spokane). The tournament will run four mats up to the finals. In the finals, there will be two mats. The top six in each weight class advance to regionals Feb. 15 at Glacier Peak High School in Snohomish.

CWAC district tournament

Where: Ellensburg High School. When: 4 p.m. Friday; 1 p.m. Saturday. Finals at 5 p.m.

Admission: $7 for adults, $5 for students and seniors.

What you need to know: Top 5 advance to regionals Feb. 15 at West Valley-Spokane.

1A SCAC East district tournament

Where: Warden High School. When: 10 a.m. Saturday

Admission: $7 for adults, $5 for students and seniors.

What you need to know: Format is 16-man brackets, though not all are full. ... Kiona-Benton’s Cruz DelAngel (182 pounds), in the midst of his third undefeated season, will be gunning for his third consecutive district title. ... The top four advance to the regional tournament Feb. 15 at Zillah High School.

Class B district tournament

Where: Colfax High School. When: 11 a.m. Saturday

Admission: $7 for adults, $5 for students and seniors.

What you need to know: Wrestlers from Pomeroy, Garfield-Palouse, Liberty, Wilbur-Creston-Keller, Reardon, Lind-Ritzville, Almira-Coulee-Hartline, Tri-Cities Prep, Waitsburg-Prescott, Davenport and White Swan will battle for a top-6 finish to earn a trip to regionals Feb. 15 in Kittitas. ... Format is 16-man brackets.

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