Greater Spokane League wrestling turns serious on successive Wednesdays and Thursdays over the next two weeks.
Beginning tonight, when unbeatens Mead and Central Valley clash at CV, the league’s best teams will test their mettle.
Mead follows up tonight’s contest against the preseason league favorite with another Valley road trip Thursday, against defending co-champion University.
Next Wednesday, the Panthers are at unbeaten Gonzaga Prep, which shared the championship with U-Hi last year. On Thursday, the Bullpups journey to CV.
“We’re going to strap ‘er on. That’s what the league’s all about,” said Mead coach Cash Stone. “There are no Humpty Dumpty’s out there, they’re all tough cookies. That’s why the sport is so great.”
The match will be CV’s first since before Christmas. Scheduled to compete in the Super 25 Reno Tournament of Champions, the 23-person entourage flew as far as Oakland, Calif., last Thursday before being turned back because of inclement weather.
“We spent 17 hours either on planes or in airports,” said CV coach Dale Ethridge, who returned in the first party of 14. “The Reno airport was flooded and the Truckee River was flowing down main street. Ultimately we had to abort the mission and come home.”
Getting the remaining nine people home, including his wife Tracy, took two different flights two days later, he said.
Tonight’s 7:30 match could hinge on the final four contests.
“From 48s through 90s we have to stay with them as best we can,” said Stone. “The issue has to be close enough going into the last four for us to be in the meet.”
Ethridge calls it a typical battle between contenders.
“Our good guys pretty much line up with theirs,” he said. “It’s going to be a scrap.”
The finale at 115 pits CV state placer John Reese against two-time state runner-up Jon Rugan.
Colbert tennis player gets big win
Jan-Michael Gambill of Colbert scored the biggest win of his young pro tennis career with a 6-2, 7-6 (9-7) victory over Sjeng Schalkin of The Netherlands in the $298,000 New Zealand Open.
Gambill, 19, graduated from Mead High School and turned pro last year, rejecting a scholarship offer from the University of Washington.
He won three preliminary matches to get into the tournament in Auckland, then defeated Schalkin, ranked 67th in the world, on Tuesday.
Gambill meets 43rd-ranked Chris Woodruff of Knoxville, Tenn., in today’s second round.