For a building year, University has fared well in wrestling tournaments this winter. Saturday afternoon at U-Hi, the team won its first at home in the Pacific Northwest Classic.
The Titans have just 10 seniors on their roster, but proved ungracious hosts by piling up 215 points to beat Coeur d’Alene by 64. They had three champions among four finalists and placed a total of 15, including some on a second, junior varsity squad.
Their finals haul was matched by third-place Mt. Spokane, while North Central and Deer Park had two champs each.
Two returning Titans state finalists won titles by pin. Cam Sorensen pinned everyone in the first round at 126 pounds. Austin Stannard stuck his finals foe at 170. The third champ, 285-pound Tate Orndorff, had all he could handle against Othello’s State 2A finalist Bubba Ruiz to win his third tournament this winter.
Coach Don Owen predicted three or four potential state champions in Orndorff’s bracket.
The match was scoreless until Orndorff escaped for a point midway through the third period. He tacked on four more points in the waning seconds.
“I would say he probably weighs 25 more pounds than me,” Orndorff said of his opponent. “You’ve got stay in position and wear him out. He was trying a throw and he kind of just fell to his back.”
The Titans weren’t the only story.
Mt. Spokane, finished third and got championships from Alec Hoover, 120; Rich Bondurant, 138, by technical fall, and a first-round pin by returning state runner-up Tom Harvey at 220.
“It’s my senior year and I’ve just been driven because of that,” said Harvey, who pinned his way through the tournament. “Since I got second last year it’s pushed me that much harder.”
NC provided foes a double dose of Quintanillas. Defending state champion Izaec beat teammate Cody Kiourkas at 160. His freshman brother, Clai, who has had to gain weight to reach 106 pounds, toughed out a 9-5 decision.
“We’ve really been excited having Clai come up,” NC coach Luke Leifer said. “He just gets after it, has great technique and is fun to watch.”
Izaek’s career to date speaks for itself. “He’s pretty fun to watch,” Leifer agreed.
Deer Park veterans Joe Grable and Matt Miller won back-to-back at 145 and 152 and defending State 2A champion Grable was named the tournament’s outstanding wrestler for the second year.
1A Lakeside had three finalists, including 113-pound champion Dalton Young. Coeur d’Alene 182-pounder Hudson Staub had a first-round pin for his title.
The tourney was filled with state placers. But the day belonged to the home team.
“A lot of my sophomores and a couple juniors wrestled pretty well,” Owen said. “And I even threw a couple freshmen in and they didn’t do bad. They’re a really hard working group.”
• Post Falls had five wrestlers finish in the top six of their respective weight classes and the Trojans took fifth place overall at the Rollie Lane Invitational in Nampa, Idaho.
Post Falls’ Drake Foster (126 pounds) and Seth McLeod (170) claimed individual titles.
Lewiston’s Bryce Parson won the 138-pound division. Lakeland’s Brandon Maihot was fourth at 160 pounds and Killian Estes was fourth at 182 pounds.
Crook County of Prineville, Ore., took the team title.
S-R photojournalist Colin Mulvany covered the Empire's home game against the Fever. Check out this photo gallery of game photos.
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