During a match filled with surprises, Gonzaga Prep inched closer to its first Greater Spokane League wrestling championship by the thinnest of threads.
It came as no surprise, in this contest between unbeaten teams, that the Bullpups’ 33-28 victory over Central Valley came in the night’s final match.
Rex Mangiaracina scored early to slip past Joe Thiefault 5-4 and assure Gonzaga’s win.
“I thought if it came down to the last three matches, we were in trouble,” said Bullpups coach Phil McLean. “I knew Rex and Joe were the two best 178-pounders in league. It was a nice win for a 4-year kid and team captain.”
A measure of how close the match was came in the night’s first contest where a CV freshman nearly stole the show.
Tyree Clowe, in his first GSL outing, caught veteran Dave Rucker in a standing cradle for five points and led 13-8 late in the match before Rucker escaped with a very important pin.
“I’d never been in a position like that for that amount of time,” said Rucker. “Basically, I used what strength I had left to turn him.”
The Bullpups led 9-0 following Ciaran Essex’s sudden-death overtime win before CV reeled off 21 straight points.
Included was a surprising pin by freshman Matt Applegate at 101 and John Reese’s 7-5 win over Chris Montgomery in the 108-pound feature between league unbeatens.
Gonzaga’s technically sound team slipped back into the match with five straight wins, including three major decisions and Eric Hundahl’s shockingly quick pin at 148.
“I’m speechless,” he said. “I saw my favorite move (an ankle pick and head drive) and used it.”
That victory, said McLean, was huge.
“I thought we were finished,” he said. “The matches we planned on winning, we lost, and the ones we planned on losing, we won.”
Losing coach Dale Ethridge concurred.
“We were in that match,” he said. “We didn’t get points where we were supposed to.”
Elsewhere, Lyle Beerbohm’s pin at 148 and James Clark’s major decision at 158 allowed visiting Mead (3-2) to pull away from North Central (3-3) for a 40-27 win.
The teams were tied at 24 after 135 but the Panthers won four of the next five matches - and six of the final seven overall - to rally. Joe McClellan’s pin of the Indians’ Josh Nuemiller at 129 proved crucial.
At Rogers, consecutive decisions for Daryn Steeneck (129), James Dawe (135) and Kris Clarke (141) helped the Pirates (1-4) over visiting Lewis and Clark 34-23. Micah Maser of the Tigers (1-4) upset Darryl Groom 7-2 at 122.
Justin Divis (141), Jame Lontz (148) and Harry Holmquist (158) unleashed consecutive pins to give league-leading Colville (3-0) a 27-7 edge on the way to a 48-16 win over visiting Cheney (0-2).
Colville won 10 of 14 matches and was never pinned. Cheney’s Gabe Schaefer had a major decision at 135.
At West Valley, Cory Richardson (122) and Josh Ludwig (129) had pins and Dave Cooper (135) a 12-10 overtime win to lead the Eagles (2-0) to a 22-0 lead during a 43-25 win over visiting Riverside (1-1).
Cooper trailed Paul Murray 9-6 after two periods but forced overtime with a reversal and takedown. Andy Imada (148), Josh Kelp (215) and Ty Roberts (101, in 14 seconds) also had pins for WV, which tied idle East Valley for second place. Matt Morin (168) and Brian Jamison (275, in 28 seconds) had the Rams’ pins.
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