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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  High school sports

Chris Grosse earns clinching pin in penultimate match, Mead tops Mt. Spokane for GSL 4A/3A title

UPDATED: Fri., Jan. 28, 2022

When Mead and Mt. Spokane square off on the mats, it’s usually for a Greater Spokane League title. Thursday was no exception.

But a year after they had to take the contest outdoors to comply with COVID protocols, everyone involved was happy to have it back inside, under the lights and neon glow sticks of the “Glowdown Throwdown” rivalry match.

The wrestling matched the enthusiasm in the stands.

The Wildcats built a lead though the lighter weights, the Panthers came roaring back in the middle weights, then withstood a late charge to seal the win.

In the 195-pound weight class, Chris Grosse escaped off his back and earned a pin in the next-to-last match of the evening and Mead posted a 49-26 win, the GSL 4A/3A title and bragging rights for the rest of the year.

The 195-pound match between Grosse and Jarom Liljenquist was a microcosm of the meet, with Grosse’s comeback mirroring the Panthers’ team comeback.

“That was a lot of heart by Grosse,” Mead coach Phil McLean said. “That’s what I’ve been looking for from him. It wasn’t great that he got in the bad position, but he refused to lose. And that’s all it was, was great heart.”

Mead has similar success Wednesday, coming from behind to edge out University, setting up the battle of unbeaten teams.

“It’s a little bit fun to come back,” said Jacob Mark, who won at 152. “We did the same to U-Hi last night. It gets the fans more excited, too. We knew we were going to go for a run in the middle weights.”

“Well, we’re entertaining,” McLean said. “The spectators that came to watch wrestling were really entertained both nights.

“It was a great competition. We needed it. GSL wrestling needed it. The fans, our kids, we all needed it. It was high intensity, high electricity between Mead and Mt. Spokane like we used to have. It was awesome to be back.”

The pageantry of the event adds a level to the already intense rivalry.

“That’s what high school wrestling should be about,” McLean said. “Packed gyms, great teams scrapping it out. Fighting. Everybody’s involved, connected. What a great atmosphere.”

“It was a blast out there,” Mark said. “I don’t want to take away anything we did last year, but this year was a whole different deal. Everybody here, all the chants, that’s what makes it fun.”

“It lives up to the hype, that’s for sure,” Mt. Spokane first-year coach Jacob Fry said. “It’s such a good environment. Stuff like this is good for the sport. We’re really happy to have had this opportunity, to have a lot of students in a packed gym, yelling and screaming.”

Fry was obviously disappointed in the result but said he knows how valuable the experience is heading into districts, regional and state.

“We get to go in pretty hungry for (postseason) right now,” Fry said. “It’s disappointing, we’re looking at a lot of frowns around here. But a lot of kids grew up today, so we’re thankful for that.

“We teach our kids you’re never out of a match. Just keep wrestling hard, keep believing in yourself. This is just a taste of what we get to do for the next three weekends.”

Mark said the Panthers will face the Wildcats with higher stakes on the table.

“We’re ranked No. 1, they’re ranked No. 2,” he said. “It’s going to be absolute fireworks and we’ll get to compete at state as well as all the individual matchups.”

McLean echoed sentiments felt in the wrestling community as meet after meet has been canceled this season due to COVID protocols across the state.

“Through this COVID, it hasn’t been real nice for wrestling and I’m really fortunate cause I have 16 seniors,” he said. “They’ve weathered a lot of stuff and I’m really happy for them that they got a GSL title They’re just great kids.

“They carried me through this COVID stuff than anything else.”

2A: Pullman got pins in each of the four lightest weight classifications from Evan McDougle (106), Gavin McCloy (113), Aydin Peltier (120) and Austin Crossier (126) to beat host Rogers 63-18 to clinch the GSL 2A title, the Greyhounds first wrestling league title since 1976.

“This was an all-around wonderful team effort. Every guy worked their tail off this week in practice and it really showed,” Pullman coach Marcus Crossler said. 

“At the first practice, I took the team into the main gym and showed them the last dated plaque on the wall and we made it one of the team goals to add 2022 to the wall.”

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