Four Blue Devils earn regional mat tickets

Eric Eastman at 131 pounds leads Wa-Hi's contingent after finishing second at the district meet.

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PASCO -- Wa-Hi's Eric Eastman finished second and three teammates will join him at regionals in what was an otherwise disappointing performance here over the weekend at the Big Nine Conference's district wrestling tournament, according to Blue Devils coach Clayton Hudiburg.

Eastman logged a 3-1 record for his runner-up performance at 131 pounds.

Wa-Hi's Gerald Maib at 285 and Ryan Harmon at 145 each won three of five matches and finished fourth in their respective weight divisions. Dustin Taylor at 125 finished with a 4-2 district mark to place fifth.

Those three along with Eastman will compete in the Region IV championships Saturday in the Tri-Cities with a chance to qualify for the Class 4A state meet the following weekend in the Tacoma Dome.

"If we go into regionals with the right mind set, then we could advance all four to the state tournament," Hudiburg said. "It really is up to them at this point to make things happen.

"The regional tournament is all about survival. Everyone at this level is tough, and nobody is untouchable."

Eastman, Maib, Harmon and Taylor will be asked to uphold the Blue Devils' wrestling tradition, Hudiburg suggested.

"Four wrestlers can still do a lot for the team at the next level," he said. "We will work hard this week, and next, to end the season on a high note and bring home some hardware from the state tournament."

But the coach made it clear that he was disappointed with his team's overall effort at district.

"We made critical mistakes in a few matches and just couldn't recover," Hudiburg said. "Unfortunately this time of year, mistakes end your season.

"This tournament was an eye-opener for some of the guys. The most important thing this time of year is to step it up and battle for every point all six minutes of very match."

Austin Rosman at 103 pounds and Anthony Stalder at 140 each won two of four matches but did not place. Ryan Evans at 152, Nick Larkins at 160, Logan Reardan at 189 and Quinn Piver at 285 finished 1-2 and failed to place. And Devon Pellham at 103, Houston Rice at 119, Keltan Fulmer at 130, Nason Babbitt at 135, Andrew Frank at 171 and Joel McClure at 215 bowed out with 0-2 records.

Moses Lake claimed the team championship with 316.5 points, easily outdistancing second-place Wenatchee's 277 team total. Richland placed third at 154, followed by Pasco 131, Kennewick 122, Eastmont and Southridge 120, Davis 116, Kamiakin 113, Wa-Hi 90, Chiawana 81 and Eisenhower 71.

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