EAST WENATCHEE – Lining up against Sunnyside, the No. 3 wrestling program in 4A, Eastmont probably couldn’t have drawn a tougher opponent in their first duel back from winter break.

And it showed.

The Grizzlies won all but three matches across the weight classes and recorded eight pinfalls, winning the duel 61-18. But it wasn’t all doom or gloom, the Wildcats showed a lot of heart and a few had a phenomenal match. Ben Kert being one of them as the 195-pounder recovered from a near pinfall, scored a quick reversal and pinned his opponent to end the duel.

“That last match was good,” Eastmont head coach Jason Erdmann said after the duel. “Ben stepped in for Skyler Dawe, who was out with an injury and got the win. We had a handful of kids out including (Damian Vivanco and Nathan Chang) so it was good to see some younger kids step in and wrestle hard. We didn’t expect to beat Sunnyside, again you hate to lose 61-18, but they wrestled with a lot of heart.”

Eastmont got the match off to a great start with Max Prazer (220) and Carlos Rodriguez (106) both scoring pins in two of the first three matches.

Sandwiched in between the two, Wyatte Erdmann (285) gave everything he had against his opponent, but got caught falling backward and was pinned in the third period.

“That was a great start, Max had a great win and Wyatte followed it up with a close match before Carlos got another win,” Erdmann said. “It’s exciting for those guys and Carlos’ win was pure heart. That match was exciting to watch.”

Getting into the meat of the Grizzlies lineup, Sunnyside won the next nine matches, six of them by pinfall.

Dominic Webb (160) nearly broke the streak though for Eastmont. Webb was ahead 10-2 and controlling the match until he made one mistake while on top, lost position and was reversed before getting pinned.

“That is the toughest thing about wrestling, “Erdmann said of the loss. “You can be winning all the way till the end and dominating the match and one small mistake (costs) you the match. It can go the other way too though being down 14 and turn it around, that is the exciting part.”

The Wildcats (1-2) will get Friday to recover before getting back on the mats this weekend at the Cascade Bavarian Invite, where they will get to face wrestlers from Cascade, Brewster, Ellensburg, East Valley (Yakima), Grandview, Highland, Lake Roosevelt, Naches Valley, Okanogan, Omak, Pateros, Prosser, Quincy and Seattle Academy.

“It should be great, the last couple of years the tournament was down while Cascade was redoing their gym, but there are a lot of new teams and we’re excited to face some schools from the other side,” Erdmann said. “Max was looking at some of the 220 kids coming over who were state participants and we should get two kids at each weight, so kids will get a lot of matches.

The first match is at 10 a.m.