OTHELLO — With powerful Toppenish in the field, there was no title or the Othello boys at the 2A District Wrestling Tournament last Saturday.
The good news is that the Huskies placed second and advanced 14 wrestlers to the Region IV 2A tournament this weekend at Ellensburg.
The bad news is that 106-pounder and last year’s state participant Chris Melo isn’t one of them. He suffered a broken collarbone two weeks ago at the Dream Duals in Spokane when he was illegally body slammed.
Melo held out hopes he might just be able to gut it out for districts and the rest of the season, but the injury was just too much to overcome, Huskies coach Rudy Ochoa II said.
So Othello will be without its crack 106-pounder but pushed the numbers through to the regional meet with some solid performances at the District 5-6 tourney on Saturday in Wapato.
Defending 2A state champion Toppenish won the district championship with 369.5 points. Othello (249) was second and Wapato (210) was a distant third.
“I’m very happy with the way we wrestled. Our boys have been tired and we’ve been holding some guys out trying to heal some injuries. We haven’t had a full lineup for the past couple of tournaments,” Ochoa II said. “All in all, I’m very happy with how we wrestled. They wrestled with pride and represented the Othello tradition well.”
The Huskies had five wrestlers in the finals and produced three champions. Reese Jones (170), T.J. Martinez (195) and Isaiah Perez (220) won district championships. Heavyweight Chemi Cantu and Collin Freeman (152) were district runners-up. Freshman Jaxon Rocha placed third at 113.
“Perez is a kid that wrestles with a lot of confidence and works hard to improve himself and it showed today,” Ochoa II said. “I would say he was the surprise of the the tournament.”
The Huskies have been forfeiting at 113 most of the season, moving Melo down to 106 where he became one of the best lightweights in the state. Now they lose quality points at 106, but gain Rocha, who will fill the void at 113.
“Chris worked out in the room to see if he could gut it out (basically wrestling with one arm), but it was clear that he couldn’t go,” Ochoa II said. “I feel bad for him because he’s worked so hard.
“Jaxon’s third really helped today.”
The Huskies move on to the Region IV 2A Wrestling Tournament at Ellensburg on Saturday. Action begins at 11 a.m.