WENATCHEE — The annual Wenatchee Duals wrestling event on Friday welcomed teams from Eastmont, Eisenhower, Bellarmine and Rogers (Puyallup). Each team wrestled three dual matches except Eisenhower.
Wenatchee wrestled a makeup match against Ike, due to one that was canceled last week due to weather. The Panthers looked strong in their match against the Cadets. Wenatchee won 54-18 on the strength of seven pins.
“We were expecting to wrestle them on Thursday. We were ready to go and the weather hit and they had to turn around. The holidays hit and we went to Eisenhower and watched them wrestle,” said Wenatchee Head Coach Ed Valdez. “That made so I knew what matchups I wanted and it worked out really well for us. We wrestled well.”
Valdez said he moved some wrestlers around, such as sophomore Miguel Molinero, who wrestled at 220, while senior Lucas Carranza wrestled at heavyweight, 285.
“Miguel had wrestled their 220 pounder before and beat him, I put him at 220 and bumped Lucas up to wrestle heavyweight because he has so much experience. He has no problems with that. Of course, he pinned the guy,” Valdez said. “It’s nice to have that at the top, some juggling room.”
Eastmont wrestled Rogers first, losing 57-24. The Wildcats picked up pins from Skyler Dawe at 182 and Max Prazer at 220.
“It was good because we only had half our varsity out here today. We have a lot of kids out sick and a couple injured. We got a lot of our young kids matches today. That was nice,” said Eastmont Head Coach Jason Erdmann. “We had a couple of JV kids jump in there and get some wins.”
Two of Eastmont’s top wrestlers were out, Adrian Vivanco and Nathan Chang. Vivanco has not been feeling well and Chang is dealing with a shoulder issue.
The second match, Eastmont wrestled the Rogers JV team and won 48-33. Erdmann was particularly impressed with Prazer, who earned pins in all his matches.
“Prazer is looking really good. He’s only had a couple of losses (this season) and that was down in Silverdale. Both those kids were rated in state. He’s looking really strong,” Erdmann said.
The second match for Wenatchee was against the Bellarmine Lions. The Panthers dominated with an impressive 67-9 win. Standouts included junior Leo Gutzwiler at 152, picking up the first round pin, senior Jason Briley at 170, picking up the second-round pin and 182 pounder senior Orlando Rodriguez, who picked up a first-round pin. The Panthers also collected three forfeits.
Valdez said they are familiar with Bellarmine.
“They were in our region two years ago. They were here last year for this same event. We knew what to expect. We go to the same team camp at Oregon State. We wrestle them every year at team camp so I knew what to expect from them,” Valdez said.
It was nice to see the dominating victory, Valdez said.
“I expect the kids to wrestle well. If they do that, that is the result. Sometimes you wrestle well and still lose. Today it hasn’t been that way. We’re where we should be. We need to get in better condition and we’re making some mistakes that can be corrected,” Valdez said.
Wenatchee faced Rogers in their final match of the afternoon. The Panthers were strong in the upper weights, winning seven of the eight matches. Valdez said that set the tone for the entire match.
Rogers got back into the match picking four pins in the lower weights.
“When we started getting pinned. That got me on edge. Toby Hambleton came through with a match win that iced the match for us,” Valdez said. “We did wrestle well. I’m really happy with this crew right now. If we can avoid injuries and illnesses, maybe we can have a good postseason. We have a long way to go.”
The Panthers won 42-33. Wenatchee improved to 2-0 in the Big 9 with their win over Ike. Valdez said the Panthers are an average dual meet team right now.
“We have four or five solid kids for tournaments. We have a lot of room to improve. If we can do that, we can get better as a dual meet team and tournament team,” Valdez said. “Kids are not down to weight yet. We can reassess some kids. Some kids will be moving down, so that will help us.”
Eastmont finished off the day with a solid 45-24 win over Bellarmine. Dawe and Prazer each picked up first-round pins for the Wildcats. Eastmont also collected four forfeits.
Erdmann was pleased with how his shorthanded team wrestled.
“You always think you can wrestle better. You come back from Christmas break and have a few days off. It’s exciting to see how far these kids have come. They’ve really grown since the beginning of the season,” Erdmann said.
Next up for both Wenatchee and Eastmont is the Cat Classic on Saturday at Eastmont.