The Battle of the Bone needs no promotion this year.
A standing-room crowd usually shows up for the annual wrestling showdown between Spokane Valley rivals University and Central Valley. They may have to turn away people when the teams collide at 7 tonight at CV.
Both teams are undefeated. The Greater Spokane League championship awaits the winner.
Talk on the street is that CV is slightly favored to knock off the defending league champ.
“They’re the defending state champ and they’re a senior-loaded team,” first-year CV coach Tommy Owen said. “To say we’re favored is crazy.”
That doesn’t mean the nephew is deferring to his uncle.
“We don’t think they’re better than us,” Tommy Owen said. “They’re just another team in front of us. We have a pretty solid team right now.”
Uncle Don Owen, University’s longtime coach, agrees.
“Central Valley is probably the best 4A dual meet team in the state,” Don Owen said. “We’re about as evenly matched as you can ask for.”
University, which captured the State 4A title last year, dropped to 3A this season. The Titans have clearly established themselves as the State 3A favorite this year.
In every tournament in which U-Hi and CV have participated, the Titans have defeated the Bears.
“I probably have a better tournament team than CV,” Don Owen said.
The way Don Owen sees it, CV will be clearly favored in four weights and U-Hi will be clearly favored in four weights.
“There are six other weights where the outcome is in doubt,” he said. “Of those six, CV is probably favored in more than we are at this point. What it’s going to come down to is bonus points – the extra points for pins and major decisions. There will be some heart-stopping matches and some great battles.”
Tommy Owen said that U-Hi’s wrestlers are sound at scoring bonus points.
“For every one of their wins, you have to get two wins,” he said. “They get so many bonus points. Not giving them up and getting them will be the biggest factor if not the biggest factor.”
Count CV 125-pound senior Jarod Maynes as one who can’t wait to get after things.
“It’s going to be really close,” Maynes said. “Tommy keeps saying, ‘They’re going to have to upset us.’ That’s our mind-frame. When we’ve wrestled them at tournaments and stuff we’ve won eight or nine weights. I’m super excited.”
The action on the mats will be just part of the spectacle, Don Owen said.
“The people in the Valley have gotten used to the drama and the extracurricular activities,” he said. “There will be an enormous amount of electricity in the gym. It’s going to be an epic war and fun for wrestling.”