WALLA WALLA — Wa-Hi started its dual meet against Richland on a high note Thursday, opening on a 24-15 roll after eight weight classes, but the Blue Devils struggled from there, dropping their final six matches in a 46-24 Mid-Columbia Conference wrestling loss.
“Our kids battled,” Wa-Hi coach Dallas Jones said. “We knew coming into the match that some key matches that we were going to have to win.
“For the most part I thought the kids battled hard,” Jones said. “Richland is very a good team that has done very well in conference.”
The Blue Devils (1-5 in MCC meets) opened with a pair of losses — Edwin Gastelum (182 pounds) took an 8-5 decision from Wa-Hi’s Zane Henerson and Cody O’Toole (195) pinned Luis Contreras in just over a minute — but then Wa-Hi went on a role.
Logan Reard (220) and Quinn Piver (heavyweight) each pinned their competitors in the first round to give Wa-Hi a 12-9 lead.
Piver pinned his man, Nicholas Workman, in just 35 seconds.
Wa-Hi forfeited at 106, but Jose Albarran (113) pinned Dustin Rolston in the second round, after leading 6-1, to push the team score to 18-15, Blue Devils.
Noe Gonzalez (120) followed with a 14-5 major decision over Alex Webb and Wil Babbit (126) continued the momentum for Wa-Hi with a 8-4 victory over Justin Webb.
Babbit used three reversals, an escape and a penalty point to take the win and give Wa-Hi its 24-15 lead.
“You know, there are guys that having been doing it all season,” Jones said. “Guys like Quinn Piver, Logan Reardon, Noe Gonzalez and Will Babbit have been doing it all season.
“I was really happy with Jose Albarran, he had a good match against a good kid,” Jones said. “He just flat got after him. That was a breakout match for him, I hope he keeps that going onto districts.”
After losses at 132, 138 and 145, Wa-Hi’s Nigel Lugo faced off with Kevin Garza at 152 with the Blue Devils’ match on the line.
Lugo battled hard, only to lose a 10-9 decision in the final seconds.
“Zach Anderson, our (varsity) 152-pounder, was out,” Jones said. “But Nigel Lugo filled in really well for (Anderson) and did really well.”
Lugo’s loss gave Richland a 36-24 lead and statistically eliminated the Blue Devils from the meet.
Wa-Hi’s Zachary Gilvey lost by a major decision and Gerardo Gomez was pinned in the first round for to finish off the night.
“I liked the way the kids competed,” Jones said. “We are developing that attitude and getting more and more competitive every match.
The matchup against Richland will prove to be a good warmup for Wa-Hi, which hosts the district tournament Saturday, Feb. 2.
the top three finishers in each weight class advance to regionals in Spokane the following week.
“We definitely have some kids who can make some noise at districts, regionals and state,” Jones said.
106 — Tamika Prerez, Richland, def. Wa-Hi, forfeit.
113 — Jose Albarran, Wa-Hi, pinned Dustin Ralston, Richland, 4:01.
120 — Noe Gonzalez, Wa-Hi, dec. Alex Webb, Richland, 14-5.
126 — Wil Babbit, Wa-Hi, dec. Justin Webb, Richland, 8-4.
132 — Noah Workman, Richland, pinned Martin Barrera, Wa-Hi, 4:57.
138 — Bryce Seely, Richland, pinned Groover Snell, Wa-Hi, 7:03.
145 — Kody Mars, Richland, pinned Evan Frank, Wa-Hi, 4:57.
152 — Kevin Garza, Richland, dec. Nigel Lugo, Wa-Hi, 10-9.
160 — Sklyar Mitchell, Richland, dec. Zachary Gilvey, Wa-Hi, 14-2.
170 — Cameron Simpson , Richland, pinned Gerardo Gomez, Wa-Hi, 1:09.
182 — Edwin Gastelum, Richland, dec. Zane Henderson, Wa-Hi, 8-5.
195 — Cody Otoole, Richland, pinned Luis Contereras, Wa-Hi, 1:05.
220 — Logan Reardon, Wa-Hi, pinned Tyson Childs, Richland, 1:34.
HWT — Quinn Piver, Wa-Hi, pinned Nicholas Workman, Richland, :35.
Team scores — Richland 46, Wa-Hi 24.