If there was a common element to Chiawana’s wrestling in Tuesday night’s 36-20 win over rival Pasco, it was the direction the Riverhawks were going.
Forward. Always forward.
In front of a packed house in their own gym, the Riverhawks used their aggression to win nine of 14 matches in the Mid-Columbia Conference dual. And 10 times, they scored the first takedown in the first period.
“What some of them lack in technique or experience, they make up for in aggression and toughness,” said Chiawana coach Jack Anderson, whose squad improved to 2-0 in league. “We preached all week, always be first.“We pushed the pace every match.”
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The aggression paid off with pins by Josiah Cazier in the opening match at 132 pounds and Levi McBride at 220. It showed in a second-period technical fall by Abzael Loeza at 285, and a third-period surge by a gassed Blake Bishop at 160 for a 15-4 major decision.
In almost every match, Chiawana wrestlers chose neutral for their starting position between rounds, rather than the traditional choice of bottom. They trade the chance of a quick escape point just to push the pace.
“That’s the key on offense — we shoot, we score; they shoot, we score,” said Loeza, who scored five nearfalls in his 18-2 tech fall over Audie Pearson. “We’re always going for bonus points.”
Pasco (2-1 MCC) had a few highlights on its side, starting with Jake Covington’s 10-6 comeback win over Jacob Garcia at 132 after falling behind 6-1 early in the second.
Luis Velazco, just a sophomore, won a tough 7-6 decision over Chiawana senior Jadin Salazar at 152 in a match that reverberated with Pasco coach Jay Covington.
“He’s a fighter,” Covington said. “He works his butt off.”
Roman Cortez got a takedown with 3 seconds left in a 3-1 win at 195, and returning state champ Timmy Martinez capped the Bulldogs’ show with a third-period pin of Bryce Buckley in an entertaining match at 126.
For Martinez, it was a chance to start another winning streak after he lost to a two-time Idaho state champ over the weekend, ending a run of 57 matches that dated back to when he placed seventh at state as a freshman.
So does ending the streak take the pressure off?
“Some people say that, but I never thought about (the pressure),” Martinez said, adding that he was impressed with the Bulldogs’ young lineup that includes eight freshman or sophomore.
“They’re learning,” he said. “Every single match is a little battle that contributes to the war.”
One that was dominated by Chiawana.
Among the matches that impressed Anderson the most was Masen Brown’s 6-3 win over Mateo Jimenez at 145, as well as Tyler Vargas’ 10-3 win over Anthony Burrows at 170. Vargas in particular dominated the third period, outscoring Burrows 8-1 with a takedown and two nearfalls.
It all added up to a nice win in a big rivalry.
“There’s definitely a huge grudge there,” said Loeza, noting his three individual wins and the team’s three wins against Pasco in the past three years. “The blood boils. We have to beat Pasco every year.”
Chiawana 36, Pasco 20
106—Nathan Bengen (C) d. Bobby Guzman 6-3. 113—Patrick Torres (P) win by forf. 120—Ezra Cazier (C) d. Luis Ochoa 10-3. 126—Timmy Martinez (P) p. Bryce Buckley 3:03. *132—Josiah Cazier (C) p. Schuyler Sillian 1;27. 138—Jake Covington (P) d. Jacob Garcia 10-6. 145—Masen Brown (C) d. Mateo Jimenez 6-3. 152—Luis Velazco (P) d. Jadin Salazar 7-6. 160—Blake Bishop (C) m.d. Anthony Sagastegui 15-4. 170—Tyler Vargas (C) d. Anthony Burrows 10-3. 182—Clayton Johnson (C) d. Misael Estrada 7-2. 195—Roman Cortez (P) d. Braylon Hanson 3-1. 220—Levi McBride (C) p. Awestyn Shover :52. 285—Abzael Loeza (C) t.f. Audie Pearson 18-2.
Note: Pasco was penalized a team point for a technical violation