PASCO — The Eastmont wrestling team qualified two wrestlers for next weekend’s Mat Classic state meet during Saturday’s Region IV 3A tournament.
Fabian Wickham and Johnny Martinez will represent the Wildcats in next weekend’s state meet.
Wenatchee’s Isaac Gates and Pat Smith are also headed to Mat Classic.
A number of wrestlers from the CTL and the B ranks also qualified for state.
Wildcats coach Ken Hoyt was disappointed that his team wasn’t able to qualify more, but he was happy for the two that did, and pleased with the way his squad — which had its season put on hiatus earlier this month, only to be reinstated two weeks later — was able to battle all day long.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve felt this positive about what we’re doing,” Hoyt said. “It was a fun time. We competed well. More than well.”
Wickham will advance to state as a regional champion. Eastmont’s 103-pounder advanced to the championship match and recorded a first-period pin of Sunnyside’s Jesse Barajas.
“Fabian was just spectacular,” Hoyt said. “He was aggressive. He was a little slow in his first match of the way, but as the day progressed, he became ornerier and ornerier. In the final match, he was really (fired up).”
Johnny Martinez, Eastmont’s 215-pounder, finished third in his bracket to qualify for state.
“Johnny wrestled kids that were ranked higher than him, but he wrestled careful, kept the pressure on and made some opportunities for himself that came out in his favor,” Hoyt said. “I was impressed. He’s peaking at the right time.”
University High School won the team title with 240.5 points. Eastmont finished eighth.
Wenatchee seniors Smith and Gates were able to draw on their past experience — Smith from competing at regions last year and Gates from his previous trip to state — to punch their state tickets.
Smith won three straight matches before losing in the finals, while Gates battled back after a semifinal loss.
“Pat wrestled the GSL champ in the second round, and he was intense and on the offensive the entire match,” Wenatchee coach Ed Valdez said. “He wound up scoring on a takedown with six seconds left, and that was a big win for him.
“Isaac lost to a highly touted Central Valley kid who only has one loss on the year, and I don’t think that kid was expecting the match he got out of Isaac.”
After the loss, Gates didn’t have long to regroup and get back on the mat for an elimination match.
“He came right back and won his next two, and now he’s making the trip,” Valdez said.
Two other boys wrestlers — Paul Jagla and Kyle Lesmeister — got to within one match of advancing, but both settled for fourth place and alternate status for the tournament. Emily Nordt also finished fourth in the girls East Regional.
Valdez said it’s not uncommon for alternates to get in, but that if one of his three wrestlers did, it would be a first for Wenatchee.
“It can happen, but the unfortunate thing is not once have we had an alternate get in,” Valdez said.
Wenatchee seniors Armando Bendito and Joe Cordes each finished fifth, and the Panthers took sixth as a team.
“To me that shows a lot of their character, coming back to win the fifth/sixth match (after failing to qualify for state,” Valdez said.
Omak edged Tonasket for bragging rights in the CTL by getting nine wrestlers through to the state meet.
The Tigers advanced eight, with Chelan and Cashmere sending a half-dozen apiece. Okanogan has one state qualifier.
Quincy is sending three wrestlers to state, including 135-pound region champ Manny Ybarra.
A pair of Ephrata wrestlers are also headed to Mat Classic.
Brewster, Liberty Bell, Lake Roosevelt, Oroville and Pateros each have wrestlers moving on to next weekend’s state tourament.