Deer Park’s small but proficient wrestling entry at Mat Classic VII showed the way for its Northeast District peers.
Three of the school’s four State A-B qualifiers made it into today’s semifinals of the all-classification pageant, including defending champion Alex Schulz and last year’s runnerup Clint Umbach, competing at 129 pounds this year, up from 108 in 1994.
“This is a lot tougher,” said Umbach, after he sweated out a 10-4 victory. “There’s a lot more muscle involved and I’ve had to counter that.”
They are among the 10 semifinalists who survived second-round action of Friday’s day-long session.
No other school advanced more than one into the championship round, although the district and region had made its presence felt during the opening matches of the day.
Northeast district wrestlers, including seven Bi-County competitors who qualified for state, won 23 of 31 opening matches. Included was Lakeside, which won six of eight matches.
The second round proved more difficult, and the hardest hit were the Eagles, who got only one athlete, 129-pound Ben Orth, into the semifinals.
“Just to have him alive, I’m happy,” said coach Scott Jones quipped.
Orth injured a shoulder a year ago and his ankle this year, but is back at full strength.
“That was really the finals match,” said Jones of Orth’s 8-6 win over previously unbeaten Max Chwasczewski of Vashon Island.
He might get an argument from Umbach, Orth’s opponent in today’s 11:40 a.m. semifinal.
Joining the two Stags is teammate Wes Williams at 275 pounds. He was a state alternate last year.
“He might be a surprise,” said his coach, Dean Largent.
The 201-pounder said his lack of overwhelming size at that weight class is to his advantage, because he’s in better cardiovascular shape.
Also reaching the semifinals was Medical Lake 108-pounder David Cassels, who rallied for a 7-6 secondround win over Wapato’s Jerry Garza.
“I wrestled him before and he beat me,” said Cassels. “I knew if I didn’t win, it might be my last match of the season.”
Riverside defending state champion Henry Peterson won twice easily at 115 pounds and will meet Chewelah’s Josh Erickson this morning.
Unbeaten Terry Haney of Newport advanced at 148 pounds with a dervish-like effort.
“I’m a 6-minute wrestler,” he said. “By the second and third round, I see their energy drain and it gets my adrenalin pumping.”
Springdale 190-pounder Mark Scott, up from 168 pounds a year ago, won twice by pin, including in just 21 seconds of his quarterfinal.
Almira/Coulee-Hartline’s Severin Walsh was impressive in two wins at 275 pounds.
Eight other area wrestlers can still place, including four Lakeside wrestlers - Chris Padayao, Chad Drury, Hutch Goodman and Bart Orth, a heart-breaking 11-10 loser in his quarterfinal match; Riverside’s Dan Kruger and Matt Morrin; ACH’s Jason Ogle and Davenport’s Jason Schneider.
Elma is the team leader after one day with 56 points. Lakeside is tied for fourth with 31.5.