4A Regional heats up Tri-City mats

February 14, 2014 

Timmy Martinez is a three-sport athlete, but the Pasco junior knows wrestling is his calling.

“I played football this year. I started at safety and was team captain,” Martinez said. “I played baseball my freshman and sophomore years, but I don’t think I will play this year so I can concentrate on wrestling.”

Martinez was one of seven Pasco wrestlers who won district titles last weekend as the Bulldogs captured the team title, and he leads a contingent of 12 Pasco wrestlers into the 4A regional meet today at Pasco High School.

“Chiawana handed us our one league loss,” Martinez said. “It was a sweet feeling to come out on top (at district). All the hard work we put in, we expected to win.”

Martinez, the 2013 state champion at 120 pounds, beefed up to 126 this season and has been very successful. He is 32-2 with losses to Drake Foster of Post Falls, Idaho, and two-time state runner-up Glenn Robertson of Fife (2A).

“I didn’t really grow. I wrestled 126 most of last year,” Martinez said. “I’m just trying to focus on my technique and make people wrestle me.”

Martinez is one of two returning state champions at the regional tournament. Colton Orrino of Central Valley, who won the 132-pound title last year, is competing at 145 today.

Mead’s Chandler Rogers won a state title at 170 last year, but has since moved to Oklahoma.

Chiawana brings four district champions to regionals — Ezra Cazier (120), Blake Bishop (152), Levi McBride (195) and Abzael Loeza (220).

McBride, who wrestled at 220 during the regular season, dropped to 195 for the postseason and hasn’t lost a step. He won both district matches by fall, spending a combined 2 minutes, 27 seconds on the mat.

“I think 195 helps me and the team for the postseason,” McBride said. “I feel really confident about it.”

The heavier weight classes are typically dominated by upper classmen, but McBride, 16, is just a sophomore. He has taken on guys older and stronger, and more times than not, he has come out on top.

“Go ahead, overlook me,” McBride said. “We’ll see where that goes. They may see they are wrestling a sophomore, but they don’t know what I’m capable of.”

McBride is on the opposite side of the bracket from Lewis & Clark senior Andrew Backlund, who won the GSL district title last weekend. Backlund was 1-2 at state last year.

With McBride dropping down, Loeza moved from 285 to 220. He also won both district matches by fall en route to the title.

“You notice when guys are tough, and Levi and Abzael are that,” said Riverhawks coach Jack Anderson. “Both are district champs and they are pushing each other in practice. I look for some great things out of them the next two weekends.”

Richland’s Mitch Bieber (132), Pryce Seeley (138) and Nicholas Workman (285) come into regionals having won district titles. Seeley was eighth at state last year.

Moses Lake will have 17 entrants at regionals, making them a strong contender for the team title.

The Chiefs are led by Trey Lusk, who was second at state last year at 106, and Fernando Leyva, who was fifth last year at 113.

Mead has 14 guys in the mix, but five of them are wrestling pigtail matches to get into the quarterfinals. “It will be a brutal day,” Anderson said. “It will be a dog fight.”

4A Regionals

Where: Pasco High School. When: 10 a.m. today. On to state: The top 3 advance. Admission: $8 for adults and $6 for students and seniors. Of Note: Brackets can be viewed at jcrawford.net.

3A Regionals

Where: Glacier Peak High School in Snohomish. When: 10 a.m. today. On to state: Top 4 advance. Admission: $8 for adults and $6 for students and seniors.

2A Regionals

Where: West Valley-Spokane. When: 11 a.m. today. On to state: Top 4 advance. Admission: $8 for adults and $6 for students and seniors. Of Note: Action started Friday with the first matches of the 12-man brackets.

1A Regionals

Where: Zillah High School. When: 10 a.m. today. On to state: The top 4 advance. Admission: $8 for adults and $6 for students and seniors. Of note: Warden, coming off an impressive district title run, will have 17 guys competing at regionals. “They will be up against some stiff competition from Granger (the defending state champion),” said Warden coach Brent Cox. “It will be a big weekend for us.”

2B Regionals

Where: Kittitas High School. When: 10 a.m. today. On to state: Top 5 advance. Admission: $8 for adults and $6 for students and seniors.

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