One of the great things about wrestling is even in the most lopsided of duals -- and Pasco's 61-6 domination of Hanford on Thursday night was a commanding performance -- there can be pockets of brilliance for both sides.
Take, for example, Hanford state veteran Joe Traverso needing every ounce of effort to hold off Anthony McKittrick in a 4-3 decision at 160 pounds, one of only two wins for the host Falcons.
Or the Bulldogs' consistently strong wrestling when action hit the mat, scoring 11 nearfalls and seven reversals in the 11 matches that were wrestled (Hanford forfeited three weights).
Oh, and the cherry on top of the grappling sundae, the scrap at 145 between state vet Cody Rush of Pasco and state placer Matt Owens of Hanford.
Owens' 6-5 decision in the last match of the evening secured his top spot at next weekend's district tournament.
"Coming off the loss to the Southridge guy (Will McNamara at a tournament on Jan. 8), and he (pinned) the Southridge guy, I wanted to come out here and prove I was someone they need to worry about," Owens said.
Not much doubt in that, considering Owens finished fourth at state in this weight last year. But Rush has been dominating even the best of opponents in league matches. Both came in unbeaten in CBBN 3A matches -- Owens avenged the tournament loss to McNamara with a decision in the league dual.
Owens got the first takedown, countering a counter by Rush, who tied the match with a pair of escapes heading into the third. Rush got a takedown of his own to take a 4-3 lead -- had the pair not landed on the edge of the mat, he might have tacked on some back points -- before Owens evened it with an escape.
Heading into the final 30 seconds, Owens again managed to slip around Rush and force him to the mat. Rush escaped with 12 seconds left but couldn't get a last-gasp takedown.
"That first takedown, (Owens) was coached up with what we might do," Pasco coach Jay Covington said, "and we rushed Cody too much, and it cost us two points, and we lost by one point."
But aside from the finale and Traverso's win at 160, the night belonged to the Bulldogs, who finished 6-1 in league and 18-4 in dual matches.
Lonnie Hurley set the tone in the first match, hustling up a trio of takedowns before ending his 152 bout with a first-period pin.
"I felt really excited" to go first, said Hurley, who is reaping the benefits of bumping up to 160 for most of the season and now sticking at 152. "It's way better when you're up first. I get hyped up, my team gets hyped up."
It was the first of five pins for Pasco, with Jeffrey Christensen (171), Rudy Jimenez (215), Davin Kerr (285) and Jackson Fromm (140) also stopping their matches early.
The Bulldogs also tacked on four major decisions, scoring extra team points in every match they won.
"We're trying to score from top," Covington said. "We're not wrestling defensively. We're wrestling offensively, thinking, 'what can I do to win this thing.' "
Hanford coach Dom Duncan called the dual a good wake-up call for his Falcons (4-3) with districts starting next week and the wrestling just getting tougher from here on out.
"They're active, they're physical, and when they tie up they tie up with a purpose," he said of the Bulldogs. "That was a good pre-postseason match to see what that's like."
103—Dalton McDonald (P) win by forf. 112—Jose Castro (P) win by forf. 119—Thomas Batalla (P) m.d. Ben Hoffner 13-4. 125—Robert Mendoza (P) win by forf. 130—Hugo Mabry (P) m.d. Michael Parkman 11-2. 135—Gilbert Mendoza (P) m.d. Travis Hubbard 16-8. 140—Jackson Fromm (P) p. Chris Ha :27. 145—Matt Owens (H) d. Cody Rush 6-5. *152—Lonnie Hurley (P) p. Ben Tynan 1:40. 160—Joe Traverso (H) d. Anthony McKittrick 4-3. 171—Jeffrey Christensen (P) p. Drew Hansen 3:05. 189—Hector Jimenez (P) m.d. Casey Enderlin 15-4. 215—Rudy Jimenez (P) p. Jessie Stanley 1:59. 285—Davin Kerr (P) p. Paul Mettille 1:04.
With Eastmont canceling the remainder of its season because of an outbreak of four skin diseases, the regional tournament slated for Feb. 11-12 in East Wenatchee has been moved to Pasco High. The Bulldogs also are playing host to the district tournament Feb. 4-5 and are looking for 14 weight-class sponsors for each tournament. Interested businesses and individuals can contact Covington at 302-1900.