Prep Wrestling

10 things to know about the 2011-12 Mid-Columbia wrestling season

1. The weights: The National Federation of State High School Associations gerrymandered the weights, levering one in up top by squeezing one out down low.

The lightest weight is 106 pounds, up from 103. The biggest weight remains 285. However, whereas the upper weights used to go up from 160 with increases of 11, 18, 26 and 70 pounds, it now jumps 10, 12, 13, 25 and 65 pounds.

However, that cost a weight below 145, and it might play to the detriment of some traditional powers that excel in the lower weights (Sunnyside and Hermiston come to mind).

2. The postseason, part I: The 3A and 4A regionals again will be bloody, and not just because of bleeding noses. The regional between the Columbia Basin Big Nine and the Greater Spokane League will send three wrestlers to state at each weight class, meaning a lot of potential placers will be home for Mat Classic.

In the 4A, the two leagues will evenly split the eight regional slots. Districts are at Chiawana and regionals at Moses Lake.

In the 3A, the eight-team CBBN gets five and the four-team GSL three. Districts are at Hanford and regionals at University in Spokane.

3. The postseason, part II: The CWAC again will send its top seven against the top five from the Great Northern, with the top four advancing to state.

The SCAC East and West split eight regional slots, also with the top four advancing to state.

4. CBBN 4A: Moses Lake figures to rule, led by returning state runners-up Nico Moreno (152) and Jonathan Perales (195).

Chiawana might be in for its best season yet, led by returning state placer Chris Montelongo (113) and state vet Brandon Gonzalez (132).

Richland also has a state-placer in Josh Andrew (120), but the Bombers have a lot of new faces in the lineup.

5. CBBN 3A: Like Moses Lake in the 4A, Sunnyside is expected to hold its usual spot atop league. The Grizzlies have five state vets, including placers Jesse Barajas (106) and Nathan Gonzalez (132).

Pasco also returns a strong lineup, led by Gilbert Mendoza (132), Robert Mendoza (145) and Lonnie Hurley (160-170). Kamiakin (Harley Kolp at 132 and Sisto Santana Pina at 170) and Southridge (Connor Rosane at 160) both have state placers, and Hanford's Joe Traverso (170) is wrestling like one.

6. CWAC: Othello will have plenty of dogs in the hunt for the title, led by big guys Stephen Villarreal (195) and two-time state runner-up Joey Gomez (220).

Grandview sophomore Fidel Medina could be in for a strong year at 106.

7. SCAC East: Royal has a lot of horses, but it never is easy with the likes of Connell, Kiona-Benton and Columbia-Burbank.

The Eagles' Misael Lopez jumps to 113 after finishing third at 103 last season. Ki-Be's Matt McCallum (132) is working on becoming a four-time state placer, while Burbank's Tucker Simonton (152) and Zach Grimm (182) look strong.

8. Dawg show: Hermiston fans, be patient. Your five-time defending Oregon 5A state champion might run into a few bumps along the way, but that's because early-season injuries and illnesses have resulted in a lot of unfamiliar names in the lineup right now.

One familiar name, though, is Joey Delgado, who is about as untouchable as they come and is shooting for his fourth state title. He would be the first from Hermiston to accomplish the feat and the 20th in Oregon history.

9. Hansen at Riverside: For the last three seasons, the Pirates have had a state champ named Hansen -- Brigham Hansen. He has graduated -- along with his 90-match winning streak to cap his career -- but little brother Briton is back and ranked No. 1 in Oregon 3A after placing third last year.

10. Keep the date: Two good tournaments are coming up in the Tri-Cities.

Best of the West is Dec. 22-23 at Pasco. The first day is a team dual, with an individual tourney set for the second day. Then, just in time to provide a good reason to get out of the house and escape the in-laws, the Winter Cup takes over Hanford High on Dec. 28.

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