With a five-point lead and one match remaining, the Southridge wrestlers thought they could hold on for the win, but Walla Walla heavyweight Kurt Blackman stole the show.
Blackman went up against Tamerlan Pliez, a first-year wrestler who recently moved to the United States from Russia, and came away with a second-round pin to give the Blue Devils a 33-32 Mid-Columbia Conference victory at Southridge High.
“It was a super-gutsy performance on his part,” Suns assistant coach Steve Isley said of Pliez. “He weighed in at 197 and Blackman at 282. A monster difference between the two. We thought he gave us the best shot, and we thought he could hold on, but 80 pounds was way too much of a weight difference.”
Riley Lopez gave the Suns (1-2 MCC) a 32-27 lead with a pin of Matt Durkin at 220 pounds, setting up the final match.
106: McKinley Hudiberg (W) won by forfeit. 113: Marco Mendoza (S) d. Bernardo Bautista, 9-2. 120: Josh Pettyjohn (W) d. Giovanni Penaloza, 4-2. 126: Mikael Failor (S) p. Jesus Diaz, 3:01. 132: Cesar Flores (S) m.d. Benedicto Saucedo, 12-4. 138: Clayton Detmer (S) m.d. Edwin Romero, 10-0. 145: Salvador Gutierrez (W) d. Ryan Nett, 8-3. 152: Ammon Juhasz (W) d. Justice Salazar, 3-0. 160: Mark Meier (S) d. Justin Evans, 10-8. 170: Andrew Granchukoff (W) p. Logan Tinnin, :48. 182: Zayid Al-Ghani (S) won by forfeit. 195: Ely Kimball (W) p. Taylor Ambrose, 3:43. 220: Riley Lopez (S) p. Matt Durkin, 1:20. 285: Kurt Blackman (W) p. Tamerlan Pliez, 2:57.
Saige Polanik won the floor and the all-around to lead host Kamiakin to an MCC win over Southridge.
Polanik’s sister Piper was first on the vault and bars. Braves teammate Ryanne Rogers won on the beam.
Team scores — Kamiakin 165.600, Southridge 130.850. All-around — 1, Saige Polanik (K) 35.050; 2, Abby Winstead (K) 33.950; 3, Ryanne Rogers (K) 31.650. Vault — 1, Piper Polanik (K) 9.1; 2, Winstead (K) 8.85; 3, S.Polanik (K) 8.8. Bars — 1, P.Polanik (K) 8.9; 2, Winstead (K) 8.55; 3, S.Polanik (K) 8.35. Beam — 1, Rogers (K) 9.15; 2, S.Polanik (K) 8.75; 3, P.Polanik (K) 8.6. Floor — 1, S.Polanik (K) 9.15; 2, Winstead (K) 8.1; 3, Kelsey Dearing (K) 7.8.
The undefeated Sunnyside girls were ranked fifth in the first Class 4A state poll of the season from The Associated Press.
The Mabton girls landed at No. 4 in the 2B poll, while Sunnyside Christian was third and Touchet eighth in the 1B rankings.
The Kamiakin boys were 10th in the 3A rankings.
▪ The WIAA honored Chiawana’s Braydey Hodgins, Liberty Christian’s Bella Loera and Kennewick’s Dillon Plew as Athletes of the Week.
Hodgins averaged 24 points in Week 16 wins over Post Falls (Idaho) and Hanford. In Week 17, Plew had 52 points, 20 rebounds and 15 assists as the Lions went 2-1 at the SunDome Shootout. Loera totaled 44 points and nine steals in wins over St. John-Endicott and Tri-Cities Prep.