EAST WENATCHEE — The Eastmont wrestling team has had some definite highlights this season. Thursday night was not one of them.
Undefeated Sunnyside trounced the depleted Wildcats 43-19 in their final home Big Nine dual meet of the season, eliminating Eastmont (2-2) from league title contention.
The Wildcats, who have two tournament championships and a close win over rival Wenatchee to their credit this season, struggled with several athletes either out of action or wrestling with illness or injury.
“We had a lot of kids out there that didn’t belong there,” Eastmont coach Ken Hoyt said. “They’re better than us, and they out-wrestled us at weights we should have won. We should have won eight matches here tonight instead of five.”
Sunnyside (4-0) lived up to its No. 4 ranking among Class 3A schools on WashingtonWrestlingReport.com by winning nine matches, including five by pin.
“They’re good. They’re the real deal, but we’ll see in four weeks,” said Hoyt, referring to the state tournament in February. “This was a match where we could blatantly see all the mistakes we made.”
There were some bright spots for Eastmont, though, especially early in the match.
Darin Hardgrove, wrestling down a class at 170, opened the night with an impressive 6-3 decision over Max Ramos, while fellow senior Kyle Hoffman picked up a 10-2 major decision against Isaac Palomino at 195 pounds.
“Darin wrestled unbelievably well, and Hoffman made some mistakes but finished well,” Hoyt said.
Undefeated 106-pound senior Fabian Wickham, the top-ranked wrestler in all classification at his weight, picked up an 8-1 win over Homer Romero, who is ranked second in Class 3A.
“Fabian wrestled a good match, but there are still holes in his game,” Hoyt said.
Christian Hernandez (132 pounds) added an 8-5 victory over Daniel Guillen, and Michael Preston (126) won by injury default over Anthony Chavez for Eastmont.
The Wildcats will look to pick themselves up this weekend at the Dream Duals tournament at East Valley of Spokane.
Wenatchee 46, Eisenhower 21
Freshman Eric Briley (120 pounds) wrapped up the night with a thrilling 8-7 win by decision over his Eisenhower opponent. By then, though, the meet was well in hand.
The Panthers (2-2 Big Nine) dominated the Cadets from early on, never relented and put Thursday’s Big Nine dual meet out of reach with three pins in a row.
“Pins are nice,” coach Ed Valdez said. “When you can increase your point score by six three times in a row, that’s very helpful.”
Sophomore Cy Sirmon (195) recorded a pin in the first round, Isaiah VanWeerdhuizen (220) followed that with a pin of his own and Kyle Lesmeister (280) put his man down to give Wenatchee a 34-15 lead with just three matches left in the meet.
Andrew Lape (132) and Noel Sanchez Moreno (152) also recorded pins in the lopsided Panther win.
“I just decided to be more aggressive this match,” Sirmon said.
Sirmon, who moved into the varsity lineup early in the winter season, has played a critical role for the Wenatchee wrestling squad this season.
Initially, there were some nerves when he got the promotion. But several weeks of wrestling against some of the state’s top wrestlers have boosted his confidence and given him plenty of takeaway messages for later in his young wrestling career.
VanWeerdhuizen, on the other hand, is getting back into top form as the regular season starts to wind down.
The senior came into the year one of the most experienced grapplers and a vital component of the team, but has battled a string of injuries the last couple of months. But the pin, and the Panthers’ big win, could be instrumental going forward when they face Sunnyside on the road next week.
“Everyone’s going to be at their top game,” VanWeerdhuizen said. “Sunnyside’s coming up and hopefully we just destroy them.”
Wenatchee 133, Eastmont 38
The Panthers won the dual meet handily, but were unable to record any state qualifying times.
As of now, Jared Vargas is the only Wenatchee swimmer to have a state qualifying time. He recorded a state-qualifying 5:01.47 in the 500-yard freestyle earlier this season.
Vargas has come close to reaching qualifying times in the 200 individual medley and the 100 backstroke and senior Alex Baker is close to qualifying for the 500 freestyle and 100 backstroke. Junior Tommy Higley is close to qualifying for the 50 and 100 freestyle races.
Chelan 63, Omak 27
Chelan moved to 7-2 in league play after Abby Phelps scored 18 points and Courtney Dietrich scored 17 for the Goats in their home win.
They used the first half to do most of the damage with Phelps scoring 12 and Dietrich 10 for a halftime score of 35-7.
Chelan 56, Omak 27
The Goats settled in offensively, played great defense for four quarters and took care of business to improve to 9-1 in league play.
“Even the shots we missed were within the offense we’re trying to do,” coach Joe Harris said. “We’ve been in a little bit of a hurry recently and tonight we settled down.”
Hank Hollingsworth led the team with 16 points and shot 8-for-12 from the field. Kai Clausen had eight points and was 4-of-5 on the night.