Prep Wrestling

Sunnyside wrestlers win first title in 3 years

PASCO -- Jay Covington wanted to win. George Paulus wanted to win big.

Guess both coaches will have to live with their disappointment following Sunnyside's 34-18 victory at Pasco in a terrific CBBN 3A dual Thursday between unbeaten squads.

The Grizzlies (6-0) won eight of the 13 matches wrestled and picked up a forfeit at 215 pounds.

However, all but four matches were decisions, and Pasco (5-1) was within four points heading into the final two weights.

"We won about as many matches as I thought we would," Paulus said after his Sunnyside team captured its first league title in three years, "but I kind of thought we'd get some bigger finishes. Give credit to Pasco for that."

Indeed, the Grizzlies are accustomed to rolling up big points in their lighter weights. And though Jesse Barajas (103), Santos Guerrero (112) and Nathan Gonzalez (119) posted their usual wins, they each added only three team points to the Grizzlies' score.

"I knew it would be a dogfight and we had to keep close in the lighter weights," said Covington, whose team has scored big points from the middle weights on up. "It was a bloody battle, a battle of wills, and their will prevailed more than ours did."

Pasco certainly had its moments. Cody Rush dominated one of the top 145-pounders around in David Vidales with a 19-2 technical fall. Rush turned Vidales four times in the first two periods with a variety of holds and moves. He opened the third period a single point away from ending the match and nearly got the pin for six team points instead of five for the tech fall.

"I wanted the pin in case it came down to a close (team) match," Rush said. "I knew I had to pin him or the match would be over."

Hector Jimenez was active and strong in an 11-1 major decision at 189 pounds, following Jeff Christensen's 9-3 win at 171.

The Bulldogs even had some big performances in defeat. Thomas Batalla twice turned Sunnyside's Gonzalez, a two-time state placer, in the third period and nearly pulled off a huge upset in a 10-6 loss.

Of course, Sunnyside had plenty of big performances as well.

In one of the top matchups, Josh Romero downed Pasco's Lonnie Hurley 17-6 at 152, demonstrating his freestyle ability with eight takedowns while keeping the action almost exclusively on their feet.

Sunnyside's Adam Peters, the top-ranked 285-pounder in the 3As, provided the night's only pin, throwing Albert Torres with five seconds left in a close match.

"That was the best match I've had all year in duals," said Peters, who got an early edge by twice landing on Torres early in the match, bringing every ounce of his 285-pound frame down on the smaller wrestler.

"It knocks the air out. After a while, you get them a couple times and they just give in."

103--Jesse Barajas (S) d. Dalton McDonald, 7-0. 112--Santos Guerrero (S) d. Jose Castro, 8-3. 119--Nathan Gonzalez (S) d. Thomas Batalla, 10-6. 125--Robert Mendoza (P) d. Daniel Guillen 4-2. 130--Isaac Guerrero (S) d. Phoenix Virgen, 7-3. 135--Gilbert Mendoza (P) d. Rigo Valdez, 10-5. 140--Emmanuel Tejeda (S) d. Jackson Fromm, 6-1. 145--Cody Rush (P) t.f. David Vidales 19-2. 152--Josh Romero (S) m.d. Lonnie Hurley, 17-6. 160--Jaime Garcia (S) d. Anthony McKittrick, 8-3. 171--Jeff Christensen (P) d. Lupe Mendoza, 9-3. 189--Hector Jimenez (P) m.d. Adrian Ramirez 11-1. 215--Frankie Ochoa (S) won by forfeit. 285--Adam Peters (S) p. Albert Torres 5:55.

* Kevin Anthony: 509-582-1403; kanthony@tricityherald.com

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