WALLA WALLA - Counting two forfeits at 102 and 132 pounds, the Wa-Hi Blue Devils wrestling team fell to the Eisenhower Cadets here Thursday night by team scores of 53-21 in the opening match of the year and a Big Nine Conference match.
"Those forfeits hurt us and cost us 12 points to Eisenhower's overall score," Blue Devil sophomore and 120-pounder Wil Babbitt said.
The forfeits were also 12 points that could have been added to the Blue Devil's overall score.
"It was a big disappointment," Wa-Hi junior 182-pounder Zane Henderson said, "not to have enough kids in the weight classes and having to forfeit the two matches over not having enough practices to compete. We'll have more kids wrestling next week who just missed one or two practices over the break."
Wa-Hi head coach Clayton Hudiburg explained that the state of Washington wrestling rules are that a wrestler must have 12 practices before wrestling in a match that particular year.
"Starting next week," Hudiburg said, "we won't have those forfeits. Those wrestlers, had they been able to go, would have made a big difference. It definitely would have helped."
Excuses aside, Hudiburg said that Eisenhower was the best team Thursday.
"Tonight, Eisenhower was just better than us," Hudiburg said. "I think in February when we wrestle them in districts, we'll have a better showing. We just have some kids who need to develop their wrestling skills some."
After the forfeit at 106 pounds, Jose Albarran lost a major decision to the Cadets' Cameron Manjarrez by a score of 23-14. Albarran mastered the escape in this match by using this move eight different times, one point awarded each time.
After two weight classes, it was 10-0 Eisenhower.
Wil Babbitt brought the Blue Devils back and breathed some life into their team. Babbitt used a takedown and two near falls to lead Jonathan Garcia 7-0 after the first period. Next, Babbitt had another near fall for two points before pinning Garcia at the 4:47 mark of the match.
"I never know what to expect from my opponents," Babbitt said. "But I just go out there and try to do my best. I did that tonight."
It was now 10-6 Cadets, but the new life was short-lived for Wa-Hi.
The Blue Devils then last seven straight weight class matches to the Cadets, including another forfeit and three consecutive pins from the 152-, 160- and 170-pound weight divisions.
"We've got some kids that just need to develop a little bit," Hudiburg said. They're varsity ready and they just happen to have some real tough kids up against them tonight.
"We don't get to play the inexperience card any more; we've just got some work to do. We have a lot of wrestlers now in their second year of the varsity sport but they are still young - sophomore and juniors. But they need to do better."
It was 47-6 before the Blue Devils woke up and started to recover.
Next, Zane Henderson at the 182-pound division, won a spirited match that was hotly contested throughout and turned around the momentum for the Blue Devils.
Henderson got up 5-0 on an early takedown and near fall before Jon Fowler fought back with a 2-point reversal just before the end of the first period.
In the second period, Fowler got a takedown, near fall and escaped to lead 8-5 going into the final period.
Henderson won the final period and match scoring four points on a takedown and nearfall to win 9-8.
Henderson started what would be a three-match winning streak for the Blue Devils. They won in the 195-pound division and 220-pound class by pin.
Wa-Hi's Joel McClure pinned Carlos Capetillo at the 5:38 mark of the match after leading 11-2 on the scoreboard.
McClure had three takedowns and two near falls prior to the pin while Capetillo could only muster an escape and penalty point.
It didn't take Wa-Hi's Logan Reardon, at 220 pounds, long to pin Joel Ortega. Reardon was up 2-1 just 2:37 into the competition before the fall.
At the heavyweight division, 285 pounds, Alejandro Bramon of the Cadets lead 6-3 after the first period and then pinned Daniel Benavides 1:18 into the second period.
Hudiburg gave credit where credit was due.
"Eisenhower was ready to go and we weren't, so there you have it. I hoped for a better showing, but it is what it is. They've got a good team."
Eisenhower 53, Wa-Hi 21
106 - Isabel Nunez, Ike, won by forfeit. 113 - Cameron Manjarrez, Ike, dec Jose Albarran, Wa-Hi, 22-13. 120 - Wil Babbitt, Wa-Hi, pinned Jonathon Garcia, Ike, 2:57. 126 - Dylan Mendoza, Ike, major dec David Pontarola, Wa-Hi, 8-0. 132 - Ulysses Torres, Ike, won by forfeit. 138 - Marco Gonzales, Ike, pinned Evan Frank, Wa-Hi, 3:37. 145 - Enrique Guidino, Ike, dec Anthony Staldu, Wa-Hi, 7-3. 152 - Roger Andrade, Ike, pinned Ruben Avalos, Wa-Hi, 3:52. 160 - Edwin Guidino, Ike, pinned Zach Gilvey, Wa-Hi, 0:53. 170 - Humberto Acevedo, Ike, pinned Isiah Roc, Wa-Hi, 0:51. 182 - Zane Henderson, Wa-Hi, dec Jon Fowler, Ike, 9-8. 195 - Joel McClure, Wa-Hi, pinned Carlos Capetillo, Ike, 3:38. 220 - Logan Reardon, Wa-Hi, pinned Joel Ortega, Ike, 1:37. 285 - Alejandro Bramon, Ike, pinned Daniel Benadides, Wa-Hi, 2:18.