Othello looks to impress in Ellensburg

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Bob Barrett photo - Chris Melo, shown in action at the Schutte Invite, is the top ranked wrestler in the loaded 106-pound bracket for this Friday’s CWAC district tournament in Ellensburg.

The Huskie wrestlers begin the second season Friday at 4 p.m. when the whistle blows to signal the start of the CWAC District tournament at Ellensburg High School.

Othello has always set its hopes on success at the state level – a Top 10 finish at the Mat Classic is an expectation every year. For the Huskies, it really isn’t about the dual meet season. Othello competed well in league, finishing second to Toppenish in the final standings. But it is the postseason the coaches have been pointing to since the first day of practice.

“If we wrestle the way we have been the last few weeks, we are going to be fine,” said Huskie head coach Rudy Ochoa, II. “We seem to be peaking right now and healing up some injuries, and clearing up some cold and flu stuff so hopefully we will be healthy and ready to go.”

Wrestling probably requires more sacrifice and dedication than most sports. To watch your diet over both Thanksgiving and Christmas vacation, to make weight two or three consecutive days and to spend the necessary time in the practice room to compete on the state level is a lot of work. I have never seen a basketball player go into the wrestling room and practice single-leg takedowns after basketball practice, but a group of wrestlers walking across the gym after wrestling practice to the locker room cannot wait to pick up a basketball and take a shot at the hoop. For many athletes, basketball is fun. Wrestling is work.

Success during the tournament season requires the team to reach their peak performance period just before the district tournament and not halfway through the dual meet season.

The key to timing the peak to coincide with the postseason tournament schedule is to provide the necessary rest to allow the athletes to recover from the rigors of the season.

“Without giving away too many secrets, one of the keys is just rest,” Ochoa said. “It is a long grueling season. At one point, we had some guys making weight on three consecutive days and that takes a toll on your body. And really it does no good to have a really good regular season and be drained by postseason.”

The CWAC district tournament is loaded in the lower weights. At 106, the top four are Chris Melo (Othello), Sammy Flores (Ephrata), Uriel Garcia (Wapato) and Andy Pimentel (Selah). Othello’s Joseph Barerra is listed as the eighth best in the state, which would put him on the placing podium in the Tacoma Dome. But he has the top four plus the seventh and ninth ranked kids in his district.

Three Huskies are ranked in the Top 4 in the state at their weight. Besides the top ranked Melo (106), D. J. Guzman is third ranked at 195, and Isaiah Perez in fourth ranked at 235.

The top five from district advance to the Region IV tournament next weekend at East Valley of Spokane to face off with the top three from the Great Northern League.

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