WRESTLING NOTES - FEBRUARY 16, 2011
As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another -- Proverbs 27:17.
For most people, wrestling and religion are more like corndogs and pudding than peanut butter and chocolate: They all taste great, but only one combination tastes great together.
But that saying from The Good Book -- the spirit of it -- is what the Hanford wrestling coaches have preached to their grappling flock all season through the daily grind of the wrestling room.
Turned out to be prophetic.
The Falcons are sending four wrestlers to Tacoma this week to compete in Mat Classic XXIV, the state's six-in-one championship gathering at the grappling mecca known as the Tacoma Dome.
All four wrestlers -- seniors Joe Traverso, Casey Enderlin and Ben Tynan, and sophomore Will Bishop -- are within two weight classes of one another, from Traverso at 170 pounds up to Bishop at 195.
They have wrestled in and around the same weights as one another, waging a seasonlong campaign in the Falcons' wrestling room.
"We knew coming in, we were really good in the upper weights," said Enderlin, a district champion and regional runner-up who wrestles at 182 pounds along with Tynan. "We mostly just beat each other up."
There have been some scraps along the way -- brothers in arms turning into brothers in armbars.
"This summer, Tynan and Enderlin almost got in a fistfight in camp," Hanford coach Dom Duncan said. "Other coaches were like, 'You guys have that in your room every day?"
Tynan and Traverso also came close to blows during the season. But 30 minutes later, it was all good over lunch.
But that heated competition among teammates has honed each wrestler into a state competitor.
"When you're going up against a pretty good wrestler, when you wrestle him, you get better," Bishop summed up.
But it's not just four guys bangin' heads on a daily basis -- they all bring something different to the table.
Enderlin is the power guy, while Tynan's the speed guy who started out as a 112-pounder as a freshman. Bishop is a big-time athlete who has what his teammates described as a "funky" style. And Traverso is the bulldog.
"He is constantly coming at you," Enderlin said. "You don't get a break. It's attack, attack, attack."
That style comes from what was shaping up to be a strong junior season but ended prematurely. Traverso qualified for state as a sophomore -- he went 0-2, but that's not unheard of for a young 160-pounder.
The next season, he started every match slowly before coming on in the second and third rounds. That was good enough for the regular season, but he wound up third at districts and fifth at regionals -- missing out on a return to state.
So now, "I run all three (periods) hard," Traverso said. "I start out hard, and I keep going hard. There is no reason I can't go all three rounds, all 6 minutes, or 7 minutes or 9 minutes."
None of the four Falcons brings a super-shiny record to state this week -- Traverso is 29-9, Bishop 25-8, Enderlin 31-8 and Tynan 22-8 -- but that is the result of a strong schedule that included tournament dates with some of the best on the west side and Spokane.
All four have their work cut out for them this weekend, as well. Enderlin is the only one to reach the regional finals and enters as a No. 2 seed. He has a quality opener against senior Evan Dorsey of Bonney Lake but could reach the semifinals without having to face a state veteran.
Tynan, in the same side of the bracket, is a third seed and opens against one state vet -- Timberline senior Tyler Saichompoo -- and likely would have to get by returning placer Sean Elledge of Glacier Peak in the quarterfinal.
Traverso is in a similar boat, with state veteran Rowland Gaydosh of Decatur in the first round. If Traverso wins, he likely would match up against state runner-up Connor Boyce of Everett.
Bishop, like Tynan and Traverso a three seed, opens with another state rookie but likely will have to get by two-time placer and returning runner-up Peter Johnson of Bishop Blanchet to reach the semis.
All four wrestlers have different expectations.
"I'm not thinking about wanting to go to the finals," Enderlin said. "I don't know what to expect. But I think we can place top 10" as a team.
"I just try to take it one match at a time," Bishop said. "In a big environment like this, I take it as a challenge. Wherever I wrestle, I may beat my guy or I may get beat, but I don't expect to lose to anyone."
Said Tynan: "I'm looking for the medal. I want to get up on that podium, get up and place."
Traverso, meanwhile, said it's state title or bust.
"I'll just tell you right now, I am not going to settle for anything less than first," he said. "If I don't make the finals, it's not going to be a good time for me."
Hard words and hard expectations. This weekend will show whether he and his teammates have the iron will to back them up.
WRESTLING NOTES - DECEMBER 16, 2011
Ten 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.
Mid-Columbia Wrestling Rankings
Here are the Tri-City Herald's Mid-Columbia wrestling rankings, as of Wednesday, Dec. 14:
1. Fernando Leyva, so., Moses Lake
2. Fidel Medina, so., Grandview
3. Jesse Barajas, so., Sunnyside
4. Anthony Barrera, jr., Othello
5. AJ Garcia, so., Hermiston
Notes: Leyva finished third at Inland Empire Invite. ... Medina was second at White River, won 6-5 over Barajas, who placed third and was second at Larry Brown. ... Barrera placed fourth at Bob Mars at 113 and won Leonard Schutte at 106. ... Garcia didn't place at Inland Empire but wrestled up at 113.
1. Chris Montelongo, jr., Chiawana
2. Chase Clasen, fr., Moses Lake
3. Misael Lopez, jr., Connell
4. Dalton McDonald, jr., Pasco
5. Elijah Conlon, fr., Riverside
Notes: Montelongo won Bob Mars, including 5-2 win over Pendleton's Colton Skeen, ranked No. 1 in Oregon 5A at 103. ... Clasen placed fifth at Inland Empire. ... Lopez placed third in State 1A at 103. ... McDonald off to 5-1 start. ... Conlon 9-0 with three tourney wins. ... Hermiston's Isaac Aguilar likely will be ranked as soon as he steps on mat.
1. Josh Andrew, sr., Richland
2. Santos Guerrero, jr., Sunnyside
3. Hayden Wise, sr., Moses Lake
4. Javier Tapia, sr., Warden
5. PJ Murillo, jr., Chiawana
Notes: Andrew won Bob Mars, third at Inland Empire. ... Guerrero third at White River, second Larry Brown. ... Wise dnp Inland Empire, but two close losses to Andrew. ... Tapia won 1A state at 112. ... Murillo won Bob Mars at 126.
1. Beau Gleed, jr., Moses Lake
2. Mark McKeown, sr., Chiawana
3. Hugo Mabry, sr., Pasco
4. Christian Ruiz, Sunnyside
5. Junior Pina, so., Kamiakin
Notes: Gleed placed fourth at Inland Empire. ... Mabry is a state vet at 125. ... McKeown was second at Bob Mars at 132, losing by two points to Oregon 5A No. 1 Trevor Hancock of Pendleton. ... Ruiz was third at White River and Larry Brown. ... Pina third at Bob Mars after 6-5 loss to Murillo.
1. Brad Fox, jr., Moses Lake
2. Brandon Gonzalez, jr., Chiawana
3. JP Martinez, sr., Warden
4. Gilbert Mendoza, sr., Pasco
5. Nathan Gonzalez, sr., Sunnyside
Notes: A great weight with plenty of state placers. Fox was third at Inland Empire. ... Gonzalez third at Bob Mars, losing 5-1 to Hancock. ... Martinez, a Class B state champ at 119, making big jump. ... Mendoza went 4-1 at Bucks Bags duals. ... Gonzalez third at White River, first Larry Brown. ... Hermiston's Tyler Berger is No. 1 when he comes back from injury, and Ki-Be's Matt McCallum and Kamiakin's Harley Kolp are among those waiting in the wings.
1. Isidro Ramirez, jr., Sunnyside
2. Laddie Goroski, jr., Royal
3. Deondre Sparks, sr., Pasco
4. Josiah Saunders, Grandview
5. Daniel Navarro, jr., Southridge
Notes: Ramirez third at White River and Larry Brown. ... Goroski is a 1A state placer. ... Sparks 5-1 at Bucks Bags, already has three technical falls and two pins. ... Saunders fifth at White River. ... Navarro third at Bob Mars. ... This weight could change as guys at 132 and 145 move in.
1. Joey Delgado, sr., Hermiston
2. Boss Garcia, jr., Chiawana
3. Robert Mendoza, sr., Pasco
4. Isaac Guerrero, sr., Sunnyside
5. Kris Young, Kiona-Benton
Notes: Delgado, a three-time state champ, won Inland Empire. ... Garcia won Bob Mars. ... Mendoza went 4-2 at Bucks Bags. ... Guerrero second at Larry Brown. ... Young fourth at Bob Mars. ... Hermiston's Zach Studer figures in when he gets his first match.
1. Nico Moreno, sr., Moses Lake
2. Trevor Graff, sr., Riverside
3. Tucker Simonton, jr., Columbia-Burbank
4. Fabian Ruiz, sr., Mabton
5. Jackson Fromm, jr., Pasco
Notes: Moreno expected to wrestle up, but was second at Inland Empire at this weight. ... Graff third at Estacada tourney. ... Simonton second at Bob Mars. ... Ruiz won Mel Carson. ... Fromm 3-2 at Bucks Bags. ... Hermiston's Abraham Rodriguez is top two once he gets a match in.
1. Connor Rosane, sr., Southridge
2. Alex Myrick, jr., Royal
3. David Vidales, sr., Sunnyside
4. Jesus Montes, Othello
5. Nathan Ottley, sr., Kennewick
Notes: Rosane won Bob Mars and Leonard Schutte, lost 5-1 to Hurley up at 170. ... Myrick was third at 1A state. ... Vidales won Larry Brown. ... Montes second at Bob Mars, pinned by Rosane in final. ... Ottley third at Bob Mars. ... Hurley expected to move down.
1. Cruz Del Angel, so., Kiona-Benton
2. Sisto Santana Pina, jr., Kamiakin
3. Lonnie Hurley, sr., Pasco
4. Joe Traverso, sr., Hanford
5. Ben Tynan, sr., Hanford
Notes: Del Angel pinned Pina to win Bob Mars, though the match likely would have lasted longer than 38 seconds but for Pina's ankle injury. ... Hurley went 4-2 at Bucks Bags and has the win over Rosane. ... Traverso third at Spud Walley and has a win at 195. ... Tynan has pair of wins at 182.
1. Briton Hansen, sr., Riverside
2. Zach Grimm, sr., Columbia-Burbank
3. Alec St. Hilaire, jr., Hermiston
4. Daniel Avalos, so., Sunnyside
5. Cameron Simpson, jr., Richland
Notes: Hansen won Estacada, second at Muilenberg. ... Grimm won Bob Mars with 4-3 win over Simpson. ... St. Hilaire ranked top 10 in Oregon 5A. ... Avalos third at Larry Brown. ... Simpson second at Bob Mars, looks to be headed down to 170.
1. Jonathan Perales, jr., Moses Lake
2. Casey Enderlin, sr., Hanford
3. Adam Hansen, jr., Warden
4. Stephen Villarreal, sr., Othello
5. Randy Harris, sr., Southridge
Notes: Perales was second at Inland Empire. ... Enderline beat Carmen 6-0 at 220 and was fifth at Spud Walley. ... Hansen placed fourth in state B. ... Villarreal won Bob Mars, and pinned Harris, who placed third.
1. Joey Gomez, sr., Othello
2. Derek Fredericksen, sr., Moses Lake
3. Logan Reardon, jr., Walla Walla
4. Austin Carman, so., Sunnyside
5. Julio Aleman, sr., Southridge
Notes: Gomez, a 2A state runner-up, won Bob Mars. ... Fredericksen, expected to go to 195, was sixth at Inland Empire. ... Reardon third at Bob Mars. ... Carman third at White River and first at Larry Brown. ... Aleman second at Bob Mars. ... Hermiston's Damian Martinez will rank after his first match.
1. Corey Brumbaugh, Kiona-Benton
2. Matt Gibson, sr., Southridge
3. Bubba Ruiz, so., Othello
4. Kyle Hall, River View
5. Martin Villanueva, jr., Chiawana
Notes: Brumbaugh second at Bob Mars, won 8-3 against Gibson, who placed third thanks to pins over Hall (fourth) and Villanueva (sixth). ... Ruiz was fourth at districts as a freshman.