In the world of the 32-man bracket, wrestlers had to be at their best Saturday. Lose your first match and you are done. Win your first and lose your second, it’s time to hit the showers.
When it was all said and done, the Mid-Columbia had four wrestlers make it to the finals of the annual Best of the West tournament in Pasco, and crowned one champion — Isaiah Gonzalaz of Pasco.
“We have tried to build this to get a tough tournament going,” said Pasco coach Jay Covington, whose team finished fourth on the day. “We get the toughest teams from Washington Oregon, Idaho and Montana. We didn’t finish were we wanted to in some matches, but they wrestled hard and with a lot of grit. It was a great accomplishment as a team. We just have to keep working and getting better as a team. It’s still early.”
Flathead (Mont.), which won the dual portion of the tournament Friday, also captured the team title Saturday after winning five titles. It was the first time at the tournament for the Braves, and their coaches said they would be back.
Gonzalez, who won the Class 4A 113-pound state title last year as a freshman, won the 132-pound title here, pinning North Central’s Clayton Gilliam in 3:18.
Gonzalez trailed 2-0 after the first round after Gilliam was awarded a takedown, though neither wrestler was in control.
Gilliam chose the down position to start the second, and never made it off the mat before Gonzalez pinned him.
“Stuff like that (takedown) happens and you just have to go with it.” Gonzalez said. “I knew I would have to come back from it. I have the mentality to go down swinging and not lose sight of my goal.”
And Gilliam, who won the Class 3A 120-pound state title last year, was on the wrong end of things.
Southridge’s Atsamaz Pliev reached the championship match at 220, only to run into Travis Mitchell of Caldwell, who took a 10-4 lead over Pliev before pinning him at 5:15.
Hermiston advanced Aiden Villarreal to the 145-pound title match against Christian Hudson of Caldwell. Hudson, who was second at the Idaho 4A state tournament last year at 132, led 4-0 in the second round before registering a pin at 2:36.
Dominic Martinez of Royal beat guys from Auburn Mountainview, Deer Park, North Central and Union to reach the 120-pound championship match against Christopher Strange of Newberg, who placed second at the Oregon Class 6A state tournament last year.
Strange led 4-0 before pinning Martinez in 3:01.
Pasco’s Davion Pruitt, who earned a hard-fought 8-4 victory over Connell’s Seer Deines in the semifinals, met Flathead’s Michael Lee in the 285-pound title bout.
Lee, who weighed in at 249 pounds, gave up about 30 pounds to Pruitt, but that didn’t seem to matter to the Montana man, who pinned Pruitt in 1:03.
Lee pinned all four of of his opponents, and none of his matches lasted more than 1:15. His first win on the day took just 15 seconds.
“We love coming to tournaments like this one and Tri-State,” said Lee, who was third at the Montana AA state tournament last year. “There aren’t a lot of schools in Montana and we see the same guys over and over again. It’s nice to wrestle different guys with different styles and learn a few things.”
Southridge placed ninth in the team standings with six placers — Pliev (220), Javon Johnson (3rd, 182), Eric Stayrook (6th, 195), Mikael Failor (6th, 160), Ryan Nett (6th, 145) and Mark Meier (7th, 170).
The top Mid-Columbia placers include Walla Walla’s McKinley Hudiburg (3rd, 106), Kiona-Benton’s Angel Del Angel (3rd, 126), Kennewick’s Emilio Ramos (4th, 160), and Connell’s Gaspar Barragan (4th, 113), Branden Chavez (4th, 170) and Deines (4th, 285).
Teams scores: Flathead 244, Newberg 164, Caldwell 154.5, Pasco 122.5, Camas 112.5, Deer Park107, Baker 97.5, North Central 95.5, Southridge 88, Union 86.5, La Grande 62, Royal 61, Connell 59, Sandpoint 57, Washougal 55, Walla Walla 54.5, Hermiston 54, Auburn Mountainview 52, Clarkston 51, West Valley-Spokane 48, Prairie 42, Newberg 2 38, Enterprise 36, Kennewick 30, Evergreen 29, Kiona-Benton 19, Elgin 17, Hermiston 2 13, Pasco 2 13, Granite Falls 12, Hockinson 8, Crane 7.5. 106: 1-2, Brendan Barnes (Flat) d. Marco Galenao (AMt), 5-3. 3-4, McKinley Hudiburg (WW) p. Steven Zaragoza, :59. 5-6, Oscar Gonzalez (Cald) d. Eric Correa (Pas), 7-5. 7-8, Braden Buell (AMt) won by inj. default over Johnathan Magana (Conn). 113: 1-2, Bryce Shaffer (Flat) d. Casey Olesen (Sand), 5-3. 3-4, Micah Worthington (New) p. Gaspar Barragan (Conn), :44. 5-6, Nate Tovar (Pas) d. Justin Smith (Clarkston), 9-4. 7-8, Kegan Richter (WVS) p. Tanner Nicol (New), 4:29. 120: 1-2, Christopher Strange (New) p. Dominic Martinez (Roy), 3:01. 3-4, Dominic Battello (Flat) d. Aaron Avery (Union), 4-0. 5-6, Shane Lund (Ent) p. Brandon Esperto (Union), 3:15. 7-8, Johnny Niehaus (Baker) d. Zack Cramer (NC), 9-2. 126: 1-2, Cody Fettig (New) p. Armando Juarez (Cald), 4:48. 3-4, Angel Del Angel (KB) p. Miguel Hinajosa (Pas), 3:01. 5-6, Cole Pass (Wash) p. Jabril Mohammed (AMt), 3:00. 7-8, Cole Isaacson (LG) won by inj. default over Diego Salinas (New). 132: 1-2, Isaiah Gonzalez (Pas) p. Clayton Gilliam (NC), 3:18. 3-4, Jack Latimer (Camas) d. Cole Farwell (Ent), 2-1. 5-6, Eduardo Rodriguez (Roy) d. Noah Koester (AMt), 9-4. 7-8, Jaden MacNeil (Flat), d. Scott Lees (Wash), 5-4. 138: Tanner Craig (Camas) md. Noah Talavera (Union), 15-2. 3-4, Joey Moody (New) p. Elijah Banister (Baker), :20. 5-6, Bo Meyer (Flat) d. Ian Feldmeier (Baker), 5-1. 7-8, Jason Powell (Wash) d. Andrew Kemp (WW), 9-6. 145: 1-2, Christian Hudson (Cald) p. Aiden Villarreal (Herm), 2:36. 3-4, Jake Freeman (Clark) p. Gavin Gies (NC), 1:51. 5-6, Rylan Thompson (Camas) p. Ryan Nett (Sou), 1:19. 7-8, Kadin Shaw (NC) won by inj. default over Ethan Newman (New). 152: Danny Snediker (Union) d. Brent Hodgson (DP), 12-9. 3-4, Kenyon Fretwell (Flat) md. Luke Lopez (Cald), 14-5. 5-6, Edwin Romero (WW) d. Tanner Lees (Wash), 13-10. 7-8, Gaje Caro (WVS) p. Kevin Pastor (Roy), :55. 160: 1-2, Payton Hume (Flat) d. Josh Johnson (NC), 9-3. 3-4, Tevin Sio (Cald) p. Emilio Ramos (Ken), :27. 5-6, Garrett Rieke (Flat) p. Mikael Failor (Sou), 1:09. 7-8, Isaac Draper (Clark) p. Lorenzo Myrick (Roy), :32. 170: 1-2, Clay Keller (Baker) p. Caden Boswell (DP), :40. 3-4, Hyrum Hunsaker (Sand) won by inj. default over Branden Chavez (Conn). 5-6, Oliver Myers (New) p. Colby Martin (Flat), 1:46. 7-8, Mark Meier (Sou) d. Carlos Flores (Cald), 9-2. 182: 1-2, Tucker Nadeau (Flat) md. Elijah Livingston (LG), 17-5. 3-4, Jevon Johnson (Sou) d. Kadyn Lauer (New), 4-2. 5-6, Dylan Goodpaster (Ever) md. Avery Burrows (Pas), 13-5. 7-8, Nick Langer (Pra) p. Andrew Webster (Sand), 3:58. 195: 1-2, Samuel Malychewski (Camas) p. Hunter Wellcome (Flat), 3:40. 3-4, Hunter Leliefeld (DP) p. Donnovan Tate (Elgin), 2:43. 5-6, Jose Tovar (Pas) p. Eric Stayrook (Sou), 3:42. 7-8, G’ovi Quezada (Baker) p. Elijah Becker (Cald), 3:40. 220: 1-2, Travis Mitchell (Cald) p. Atsamaz Pliev (Sou), 5:15. 3-4, Connor Wood (Pra) p. Hudosn Cole (Baker), :55. 5-6, Logan Reser (WVS) p. Branko Frketich (New2), 2:30. 7-8, Spencer Gerst (LG) p. Isaac Melton (WW), 3:18. 285: 1-2, Michael Lee (Flat) p. Davion Pruitt (Pas), 1:03. 3-4, Alex Paull (Flat) won by inj. default over Seer Deines (Conn). 5-6, Beau Blake (Herm) d. Tristan Osborn (New), 9-5. 7-8, Gabe Sanchez (DP) p. Josh Barber (Union), 1:44.