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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Regional wrestling: Mead nets four champions, 17 Mat Classic qualifiers in 3A showcase

By Madison McCord The Spokesman-Review

Mead wrestling coach Phil McLean didn’t shy away from the fact that the Panthers took a few shots to the chin in Friday night’s opening rounds of the Region 4 3A state-qualifying tournament at University High School.

Even though the Panthers put 13 wrestlers into the semifinals, McLean felt that they left a few more wins out on the mats.

“Some of the guys were trying too hard to go out and win, instead of just wrestling hard and letting the result take care of itself,” McLean said. “So it was a bit weird, maybe some nerves, but they bounced back and wrestled tough through the end of the weekend in a really tough environment.”

The response in Saturday’s medal rounds though is what has separated Mead from not only the rest of the Greater Spokane League, but possibly every other 3A team in the state.

The two-time defending state champion Panthers had four winners and will send 17 wrestlers to next weekend’s Mat Classic XXXV in Tacoma, all while amassing 404 points on the weekend.

“Our depth is everything. We have a war going on in our room to be in the top two and wrestle in the postseason,” McLean said. “We took 26 regionals and now 17 to state, it’s just our depth and that shows in practice, training and our morale.”

Sophomore standout Kaysic Lundquist started the Panthers off on a high note, again defeating rival Tanner Crosby from Mt. Spokane 4-2 at 106 pounds. The two have wrestled the past three weeks, with Lundquist topping Crosby each time.

“It’s really difficult to win several times in a row against a great wrestler like Tanner,” Lundquist said. “The more I wrestle someone, they find out what I like to do, but I also find out things about them and that’s been helpful.”

Mead also got championship victories from seniors Josh Neiwert (132), Jeroen Smith (150) and Markus Fetcho (285). All four Mead winners are ranked No. 1 in the state at their respective weights by Washington Wrestling Report.

The Panthers easily outpaced fellow title contender Hermiston, Oregon, which was second with 267.5 points, three champions and 10 state qualifiers.

University was third (171.5 points) with eight Mat Classic qualifiers and a pair of champions in Czar Quintanilla at 113 and Samuel Thomas at 165.

“I’ve been working hard and I knew this is where I wanted to be from the start of the year,” Quintanilla said. “But I also know there is still more work to do, because I want to defend my title.”

Mt. Spokane will send only four wrestlers to the Tacoma Dome next weekend, but Crosby and regional champs Jayson Bonnett (138) and Brendan Hughes (215) should be in the mix for state titles.

“The GSL tends to dominate this regional tournament, so I believe that we see some of the best guys in the state in our regular season,” Bonnett said. “So weekends like this put us in the right mindset for next weekend when we are at state.”

Cheney’s Trenton Moore was the only other regional champion from the GSL, topping Kennewick’s Hunter Brower 4-0 in the 175 final.

The top five placers from the 3A Region 2 tournament advanced to Mat Classic, which takes place Friday and Saturday at the Tacoma Dome.

“I tell the guys that it’s always about the next match and that has to be our focus,” McLean said. “This weekend was good, but starting next week everyone gets a fresh record and so we better be ready to roll.”

• Central Valley third in 4A regional: After an up-and-down district tournament showing, Central Valley bounced back to take third at the Region 2 4A tournament at Mount Si High School in Snoqualmie.

Brothers Blaine Beard and Bayden Beard won at 132 and 190, respectively, for CV. The Bears – who finished with 138.5 points – also got regional championships from Yousof Rahimi at 113 and Terran Manson (138). Central Valley will send six wrestlers to Mat Classic.

Lewis and Clark, which took fourth with 117 points, had seven state qualifiers and one champion in Bridger Cloninger at 175. Gonzaga Prep will send five to state, including regional winners Lawrence Jackson (150) and Noah Holman (165).

The top four placers advance to Mat Classic.

• West Valley third in tough field against CWAC schools: GSL 2A regular-season and district champions West Valley finished an impressive third in the always-tough Region 4 2A tournament at Ellensburg High School.

The Eagles finished with 121.5 points, behind champion Othello (202) and Ellensburg (126.5).

Senior Logan Utecht won the title at 138 for West Valley, which will send four wrestlers to the Tacoma Dome.

Pullman ended the day with three champions – Israel Acosta (114), Ivan Acosta (150) and Aydin Peliter (157). The Greyhounds qualified five for state.

East Valley had a pair of champions in Devin Pierce (175) and Micah Burkhart (215). Shadle Park’s Brayden Burgener won the 190 championship.

The top four placers advance to Mat Classic.

• Deer Park sends seven to state: Deer Park backed up its impressive district showing with a Region 4 1A team title at Quincy High School.

The Stags will send seven wrestlers to Mat Classic, including regional winners Jonas Bond and Gavin Carnahan at 120 and 132, respectively.

Other area champions include Riverside’s Bodey Schweiger (106), Brooks Proctor (150) and Tristian Davis (175); Lakeside’s Konnor Spradling (113) and Myles Christen (144); Freeman’s Jonah Orndorff (165) and Newport’s Area Swain (190).

The top four placers advance to Mat Classic.

• Chewelah holds off Reardan to win region 2B/1B tournament: Behind the power of five state qualifiers, Chewelah topped Reardan 146.5-124 to win the team title at the Region 3 2B/1B tournament at Liberty High School in Spangle.

Dekota Acosta was the lone champion for Chewelah at 175. Reardan will send five wrestlers to state, including regional winners Joey Matusik (106) and Carson Kline (138).

The top three placers advance to Mat Classic.

• U-Hi’s Libby Roberts claims regional title as eyes turn to third state title: University junior standout Libby Roberts is one step closer to her third Mat Classic title after winning the 105 crown at the Region 4 Girls 4A/3A tournament at Sunnyside High School.

Mead freshman Raenah Smith also continued her perfect postseason run with the 120 title.

In the 2A/1A/2B/1B girls tournament at Quincy High School, Rogers senior Yadira Covarrubias took second at 110 ahead of teammate Savannah Taylor in the same weight. Newport’s Madisen Pillers, a defending state champion, also took second at 235 and will advance to state.

The top four placers advance to Mat Classic.