Hermiston coach Curt Berger already knew he had a good tournament team -- how can you not with the likes of Joey Delgado and nephew Tyler Berger in the lineup, as well as the last four Oregon 5A state wrestling titles.
But on a long and grinding Day 1 of the Best of the West at Pasco High, the longtime Bulldogs coach found out he has a pretty good dual team as well.
Hermiston finished runner-up in the dual portion of the Best of the West for the second consecutive season, losing 41-31 to Caldwell, Idaho, in the championship Thursday.
"We looked good," Curt Berger said, noting that the Bulldogs are sporting an inexperienced lineup as several state veterans are still on the mend from a rash of early-season injuries and illnesses.
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"We wanted to get a lot of matches, and we did that," Berger said. "We wanted to get a lot of experience, and we did that."
The day marked the season debut of junior Abraham Rodriguez, who placed third in state last year but sat out the last two weekends with a rib injury.
On Thursday, he went 4-0 with two pins and two major decisions at 160 pounds, part of a terrific stretch of four weights for Hermiston with Tyler Berger (sophomore returning state champ), Delgado (three-time state champ) and Lupe Delgado (cousin to Joey) combining with Rodriguez to go 19-0 with 13 pins, a technical fall and three major decisions.
"We're pretty solid from 138 to 160," Curt Berger said, the smile big on his face.
Mountain View finished third in the team race with a 56-21 victory over Chelan.
Two other Mid-Columbia teams reached the quarterfinals. Chiawana lost 39-30 to Caldwell, and Kiona-Benton fell 42-24 to Hermiston.
It was the second consecutive year the Chiawana has reached the quarterfinals and lost to the eventual champion. However, far more important to the Riverhawks was their 33-28 win over rival Pasco in the first round.
The dual went down to the final match, with Martin Villanueva's second-period pin at 285 the difference in the match, completing a run of four straight Chiawana wins (Austin Silvers, CJ Edrington and Absael Loeza providing the others) to close out the match.
"We were all psyched about it," said Riverhawks junior Clayton Smith, who knocked off Deondre Sparks 7-6 at 145.
Brandon Gonzalez also had a big win for Chiawana with a 7-3 decision of Gilbert Mendoza at 132. But the Bulldogs had their share of clutch performances, including wins by Timmy Martinez at 120 (pin), Hugo Mabry at 126 and Jackson Fromm at 152 (a close 3-1 win over Boss Garcia).
The tournament continues today with a traditional format. Matches begin at 9 a.m. with finals slated to start around 3:30 p.m.
Championship team scores--Caldwell 41, Hermiston 31. 106--Robert Gomez (C) p. Devon Badoux 3:47. 113--Tony Gonzales (C) p. Isaac Aguilar 1:40. 120--Felipe Contreras (C) p. Stetson Iverson 4:48. 126--Isaac Barroso (C) d. Mason Ballew 6-4. *132--Jason Eavenson (C) p. Justin Fields :33. 138--Tyler Berger (H) m.d. Michael Gonzales 11-1. 145--Joey Delgado (H) p. Brooks Nye 5:1. 152--Lupe Delgado (H) t.f. Lucio Riverea 4:24. 160--Abraham Rodriguez (H) m.d. Junior Pantoja 11-2. 170--Brad Ferguson (C) p. Jesse Rodelo :50. 182--Michael Garcia (C) p. Alec St. Hilaire 4:58. 195--Kendall Shurts (H) win by forf. 220--Gabriel Escobedo (C) d. Kyle Stone 7-2. 285--Armando Garcia (H) win by forf.
Third-fourth team scores--Mountain View 56, Chelan 21. 106--Benny Dixon (MV) win by forf. 113--Brian Robles (MV) win by forf. 120--Keenon Hunsaker (MV) t.f. Ivan Reyes. 126--Jonah Hansen (MV) p. Geo Reyes. 132--Kenji Yamashita (MV) p. Justin Buyas. 138--Braeden Yamashita (MV) p. Loran Stocker. 145--George Stoyanov (MV) win by forf. 152--Terrence Hampton (MV) p. Saul Garcia. 160--Luke Arterbury (MV) p. Les Postor. 170--Tyson Dixon (MV) d. Bobby Anderson. 182--Cole Schwartz (C) t.f. Sterling Reynolds. 195--Alex Cortez (C) m.d. Ryan Tonder. 220--Michael LaHaye (C) win by forf. 285--Joe Martin (C) p. Brandon Jenicek.
Semifinal team scores--Hermiston 45, Chelan 32. 106--Badoux (H) win by forf. 113--No match. 120--Aguilar (H) p. CleiderGuillen 1:48. *126--Erick Garcia (C) p. Ballew 3:08. 132--Truini (C) p. Fields 5:01. 138--Berger (H0 p. Jairo De La Cruz 1:12. 145--J. Delgado (H) p. Stocker 1:10. 152--L. Delgado (H) p. Ballard 1:45. 160--Rodriguez (H) p. Pastor 1:40. 170--Anderson (C) p. Rodelo 5:06. 182--C. Schwartz (C) t.f. St. Hilaire 15-0. 195--Cortez (C) d. Shurts 4-0. 220--Asa Schwartz (C) p. Stone 1:00. 285--Garcia (H0 d. Luis Garcia 11-4.
Other championship bracket matches
Team scores--Chiawana 33, Pasco 28. 106--Eli Sikes (C) p. Bobby Guzman :17. 113--Chris Montelongo (C) d. Dalton McDonald 9-2. 120--Timmy Martinez (P) p. Pedro Murillo 3:23. 126--Hugo Mabry (P) d. Mark McKeown 8-3. 132--Brandon Gonzalez (C) d. Gilbert Mendoza 7-3. 138--Robert Mendoza (P) m.d. Joel Murillo 14-0. 145--Clayton Smith (C) d. Deondre Sparks 7-6. 152--Jackson Fromm (P) d. Boss Garcia 3-1. 160--Anthony McKittrick (P) p. Blake Bishop 1:35. 170--Lonnie Hurley (P) p. Absalon Hernandez 2:48. 182--Austin Silvers (C) d. Jefferey Christensen 10-5. 195--CJ Edrington (C) p. Geoffrey Westcott 1:02. 220--Absael Loeza (C) d. Rudy Jimenez 5-1. 285--Martin Villanueva (C) p. Arturo Tejeda 2:47.