MATTAWA — Royal rolled into Wahluke High School Saturday with 18 wrestlers, rolled to the district championship with 288 points and rolled on to regionals with 15 wrestlers.
Host Wahluke advanced five wrestlers to regionals, which will be held this Saturday at Royal. The top four in each weight at regionals will advance to the state tournament in Tacoma a week later.
Warden, which had clipped Royal earlier in the week in a dual meet to take the SCAC East league championship, must have wondered where Royal found all of the reinforcements. The Knights won the team title with 288 points to 240 for second-place Warden.
“We won seven matches in the dual, and they won four, but their four scored more team points than our seven did,” Royal coach Pat Mitchell said. “And here we had more wrestlers than they did. Our No. 2s were able to do some damage.”
Punctuating that point was the district final at 145 pounds. Royal’s Addin Felker defeated Royal’s Daniel Bonilla, and both advanced to regionals.
Royal and Warden will battle again at regionals, but they’ll probably be in a tussle for second with Zilla. SCAC West champ Granger will bring the state’s No. 1-ranked 1A team.
Granger won the West district with 331.5 points, produced 10 district champions and and qualified 18 boys for regionals. Zillah scored in the West about the way Royal did in the East.
The good news for Royal is the home crowd.
At districts, Royal was led by two individual champions and seven runners-up. And the Knights had five third places and one fourth place.
The five wrestlers Wahluke advanced were: Victor Barajas, fourth at 132 pounds; Marcos Herrera, fourth at 145; Kyle Yorgesen, fourth at 160; Ernest Yorgesen, fourth at 285; and Felix Rangel, third at 120. Rangel won his final match with a 45-second pin of Miles Lozier of River View.
Royal’s fourth-place finisher was Martel Flores at 195. The third-place finishers included Rodolfo Flores at 106, Kevin Pastor at 138, Jose Galindo at 152, Jack Diaz at 170 and Logan Gomez at 285.
The runners-up were Eduardo Rodriguez at 120, Regan Callahan at 138, Daniel Bonilla at 145, Lorenzo Myrick at 152, C.J. Quintero at 183, Jose Jimenez at 195 and Ryder Eilers at 220.
Royal opened a big gap over Warden, 256-197, during the semifinal round. The Knights were a pinning machine in that round, recording seven pins in nine bouts. Warden closed a little in the finals, but Royal’s lead was insurmountable.
If there was a disappointment for Royal, it came at 126 when Rodriguez fell to Jaron Gunter of River View, 7-3, in the final. The same thing happened last year, but Rodriquez defeated Gunter at state for third place.
Medina ran a clinic at 126, scoring pins of 1:24 and 1:41 en route to the final. There he ran into stubborn Bryce Martinez of Warden. Martinez was able to avoid a pin, but Medina schooled him, 15-0, to end the match by technical fall.
Felker had pins of 1:01 and 1:20 on his way to the finals at 145. Bonilla scored a pin and an 8-1 decision to set up the all-Royal championship match. Felker won it with a pin in 1:33.
Quintero had a near miss at 182. After a 15-0 technical fall and a pin in 1:40, he faced Robert Arredondo of Warden. There was no score after one round, and the score was 2-2 after a Quintero reversal with 1:30 left in the match.
At 1:13, Arredondo scored a reversal, and it appeared Quintero was doomed, trailing 4-2. But he battled for an escape with seven seconds left to make the score 4-3. He just couldn’t get a grasp on Arredondo with time running out.
There was a good news for the Knights at 152 when freshman Lorenzo Myrick took second place. The middle weights are the toughest for freshmen to start careers. The opponents are generally older.
In this case, Myrick ran into senior Joel Rodriguez of River View. Rodriguez used his experience to dodge Myrick’s attacks but never so much that the refs called stalling. Myrick was still within 2-4 with 1:50 left in the match. With 18 seconds left, Rodriguez countered a Myrick move to score a takedown and a near fall to win, 8-2.
Royal had another freshman placer at 285 when Logan Gomez scored a pin for third place.