TACOMA — Othello turned a strong performance at the Tacoma Dome over the weekend as the Huskies crowned two champions in Chis Melo and Isaiah Perez, and placed fifth out of 67 teams that participated in the state tournament.
“I am happy with how we finished the season,” coach Rudy Ochoa II said. “We had some close matches that unfortunately didn’t go our way, but overall I think the boys represented our community well. It was nice to see a big crowd supporting us at the Dome.”
Melo was first to claim championship hardware for Othello. The talented senior dominated his competitors in the 106-pound bracket with an 11-3 first round decision over Darren Gray of W.F. West and a 12-3 semifinal win over Ephrata’s Sammy Flores. Melo then turned back familiar CWAC foe Uriel Garcia 6-3 in the title bout.
“Chris was in the mix for a state title last season before breaking his collarbone. He showed a lot of heart being able to come back and finish his goal of becoming a state champion,” Ochoa said. “He’s put in the work, he’s a great kid, and I’m extremely proud of him.”
The 285-pound championship match between Perez and Tumwater’s Cy Hicks was one of the last to take place late Saturday evening, but it was worth hanging around for as the two heavyweights left everything they had on the mat. When it was all said and done, Perez walked away with the 1-0 win.
“Isaiah had a great season. For a sophomore to win it at a generally upperclassmen weight class is remarkable,” Ochoa said. “He also put in the work, and we are glad he was able to accomplish what he did.”
Both wrestlers turned in an amazing season finishing with identical 35-4 records.
DJ Guzman was the only other Huskie to place at the two-day event finishing fifth at 195. He pinned Blaine’s Porter Schmidt in Round 1 and followed up with a 7-5 quarterfinal decision over Aundre Seabrook from Foss. Guzman dropped a 5-0 semifinal match to Winston Scott from East Valley (Spokane) and was bounced down into the consolation bracket. He was up-ended 8-0 by Salvador Osorio from Toppenish, and then pinned Ephrata’s Mac Laird in a fifth-sixth matchup.
Although the Huskies had hopes of a higher team finish, Ochoa said the guys, “Have nothing to hang their heads about.” He looks forward to a return trip to the Dome next season and expressed his appreciation to his staff.”
“We have a talented group coming back. We are hoping to bring back some hardware as a team next year,” Ochoa said. “I’d like to thank my coaching staff — I’m positive they’ve put in so much more work than typical assistant coaches, from morning practices, to afternoon practices, to scouting. We wouldn’t have accomplished what we did if it wasn’t for my great staff.”
Top 10 Team Scores
(1.) White River, 221. (2.) Orting, 160 (3). Toppenish, 152. (4.) Wapato, 100. (5). Othello, 67. (6.) East Valley (Spokane), 60.5. (7.) Selah, 55. (8.) Olympic, 50. (9.) Cheney, 50. (10.) Highline, 42.