Wrestling: Almaguer, Bishop win titles

February 8, 2014 

While Spokane’s University Titans were busying winning their fifth consecutive District 5/8 Sub-regional wrestling title Saturday at Hanford High School, Kamiakin junior Tyler Almaguer was just trying to carve out a little personal glory.

The Braves’ 113-pounder knocked off Sunnyside’s Homer Romero, pinning last year’s 106-pound state champ in the third period.

“This was a huge win for him,” Kamiakin coach Jordan Anderson said. “He is a stud. He has worked his butt off all season. He has earned this. He was the underdog and had nothing to lose.”

Hanford got a title from Will Bishop at 195 as he beat Ryan Burnett of Shadle Park 10-4. Sunnyside crowned three champions in Jesse Barajas (120), Anthony Chavaz (132) and Daniel Avalos (182) and will send 10 to regionals.

But on the whole, the day belonged once again to the Titans, who also won three weight classes but advanced 17 to next week’s regional tournament.

“I’m lucky enough to have some hard-working kids this year,” U-Hi coach Don Owen said. “They came prepared. We are proud of the effort. It was a good weekend for the Titans.”

U-Hi ran away with the title once again, rolling up 346 points, while Mt. Spokane (271.5) was second and Sunnyside (226) was third. The top six placers advance to regionals Feb. 15 at Glacier Peak High School in Snohomish.

Despite Sunnyside’s good numbers, coach George Paulus expected more.

“Some of them have done pretty well, but we have some things to work on,” Paulus said. “Everything is a do-over next week. We need to work on our intensity, seeing when things are critical and finishing moves.”

Barajas, last year’s state champion at 113 pounds, beat Alec Hoover of Mt. Spokane 6-0 to improve to 30-1 on the season.

“I knew he was going to be strong,” Barajas said. “I had seen him at a tournament earlier this year and here. On our feet I was good and was able to take him down. Once I was on top I could ride him.”

Barajas said the key was to stay off the bottom. “He was pretty strong on top,” he said.

Almaguer found himself behind early to Romero, who used two takedowns and an escape for a 5-2 lead at the end of the first period. Almaguer countered in the second with an escape, takedown and two back points to move out front 7-5.

Romero maneuvered an escape to open the third, but with 23 seconds left in the match, Almaguer put Romero on his back and pinned him.

“I was trying to stay calm and wrestle my match,” Almaguer said of trailing 5-2. I was waiting for a throw or anything to put him on his back. When he was desperate for points, he was pushing into me. When guys do that, I can usually take them straight to their backs.”

Almaguer, who improved to 26-1 with 24 pins, is one of five Kamiakin wrestlers moving on to regionals.

Bishop led 2-0 for Hanford after the first round of the 195 title match and extended his lead to 5-0 in the second with an escape and a takedown. He dominated the third period en route to his second sub-regional title and will be one of five Falcons advancing.

“I’ve wrestled him five times before,” said Bishop, who has won every match between the two. “Every time we have a battle. The key is to wrestle smart.”

At 170, Southridge’s Bryce Overholt was in a heated battle with U-Hi’s Austin Stannard for the first 3 minutes of their match. Stannard then got Overholt locked up for a pin at 3:15.

The Southridge coaches wanted an illegal hold called on Stannard before the pin, but their plea was ignored.

“I’ll get another shot at him next week,” Overholt said.

Hanford was looking for its second title at 285 as Dallon Grinder took the mat against two-time defending champion Tate Orndorff of U-Hi.

Orndorff, who was third at state last year as a sophomore, battled Grinder to a scoreless first period.

In the second, Orndorff used a combination of takedowns and back points for a 10-2 lead. He led 13-2 in the third before he registered his third pin of the tournament at 5:55.

“He knows how to wrestle,” Owen said of his heavyweight. “He’s not the Incredible Hulk, but he understands positioning and has a good center of gravity.”

Kennewick also will take five wrestlers to regionals. Alejandro Ramos’ third-place finish at 126 led the Lions.

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