Changes in scoring at the state wrestling tournaments have turned the sport into a team event as much as an individual event.
There was a time when only the top four wrestlers scored at a meet and a team with three outstanding individuals could be state champion.
Now, however, scoring continues through eight places making every entrant count who can score a point in state competition.
That’s why this weekend’s first phase of the state qualifying process is critical for Valley schools.
“It’s a big week,” said East Valley coach Craig Hanson. “We have to make sure we’re ready.”
Hanson’s logic is that a team is reduced by halves at each qualifying stop.
His goal is to get 15 top three finishes at district this weekend, for a better opportunity to take a large team to Tacoma Feb. 21-22.
Eight wrestlers, 101-pound John Sommer, 115-pound Kevin Woolf, 122-pound Justin Walker, 129-pound Joe Adamson, 135-pound Quinton Chapman, 141-pound Brad Crockett, 158-pound Rusty Ruchert and 168-pound Chris Duncan were seeded No. 1. Tristan Beeman would have been at 190 pounds had he not wrestled most of the year up a weight. And Rob Gillespie is second-seeded at 178.
The Knights have at least five others with regional potential, although three drew number two seeded wrestlers right off the bat.
West Valley has the chance to move half a dozen wrestlers on to regionals, led by two-time state veteran Quinn Sharpe and Josh Kelp.
Valley schools Central Valley and University could advance nine or 10 wrestlers each to regionals if things go right this weekend.
CV suffered injury and academic casualty that has hurt its state tournament title chances.
But the well isn’t dry.
The Bears have state placing quality in John Reese at 115, Shane Cunanan at 122 and state veteran Courtney Brown at 158.
Wil Beck lost only once in league. Matt Danelo and Brandon Brown lost twice.
University has two superb wrestlers in two-time state champion Andy Roberts and last year’s third-placer Jared Osborn.
Rudy Stretch and Josh Vande Vanter were unbeaten in two weights. Freshman Magellan Laurich lost just once at 101.
Several other wrestlers who jockeyed between weights from 135 to 178 pounds, including Ben Peterson, Jesse Larson and Sam Butler lost just once in league.
First two rounds in the 16-wrestler weight classes were yesterday. Semifinal and consolation action resumes again at Mead, 11 a.m. for GSL athletes and in Pullman at 10 a.m. for Frontier wrestlers.
Gymnastics trio finds gems
Three Northwest Gymnastics Academy boys won all-around titles at the Gem State Invitational in Boise, Idaho.
Aaron Sheck won five events and Class II overall competition with a 42.45 score.
In Class IV, ages 12 and older, Steven Dunne scored 46.25. And in Class VI, ages 10-11, Paul Hannibal won three events and scored 49.3 all-around.
It was Dunne’s first all-around victory and the second straight for the much-improved Hannibal.
Dillon Reeve won Class II vault at 8.7. Nick Antich won floor exercise and vault and was third overall in Class IV. Brian Velategui and Matthew Croskrey earned event third places.
In Class IV, Stuart Renz won rings and was fourth overall. Class VI, age 7-9, performer Lane Morgan won parallel bars and was fifth all-around.
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