WALLA WALLA — Walla Walla High School’s wrestlers witnessed some strong performances from underclassmen in a 57-18 Mid-Columbia Conference dual meet victory over Kamiakin in the Blue Devil gym Thursday night.
Freshman Ely Kimball took to the mat for his first varsity match at 170 pounds, and pinned the Braves’ Levi Tipps in the second round.
“You don’t see many freshmen wrestling in the upper weight classes, and that was a match that could have gone either way,” Wa-Hi coach Dallas Jones said. “Ely was behind 2-0 going into the second round, but he reversed him and pinned him in the second round. He wrestled well.”
The Blue Devils picked up forfeits at 106 pounds (Josh Camacho for Wa-Hi getting the points), 114 (Joshua Pettyjohn getting the forfeit), 182 pounds (Donovan Romero picking up points), 195 (Lucas Rassback getting the forfeit), and 220 (Ryan Rogel).
At 120 pounds, Brian Ocampo suffered a loss to Kamiakin’s Jesus Ramos in the third round.
Noe Gonzales picked up a pin on Liam Walker 53 seconds into their 126-pounds match.
The Blue Devils gave up a forfeit themselves at 132 pounds.
In what Jones called “a really good match,” Wa-Hi’s Martin Barerra edged a 6-5 decision over the Braves’ Cedar Ceja at 138 pounds.
Brian Hernandez, at 145 pounds, lost a heartbreaking 5-4 decision in double overtime to Roman Montalvo.
Jones said Hernandez, a senior in just his second year of wrestling, got up with three seconds remaining in double overtime and didn’t hear the match wasn’t over as Montalvo recorded a takedown for the win.
“He’s come a long way,” Jones said of Hernandez. “That (the loss) was partially our fault, I consider it a win.”
At 160, Aidan Boede pinned Kamiakin’s Sam Monds in the first round, which was followed by Kimball’s memorable victory.
After the three forfeits, Wa-Hi heavyweight Kurt Blackman lost a hard-fought decision to Nick Litle, 3-2.
“Our kids wrestled well, pretty gritty,” Jones said. “A few of them were out there for the first time, and they responded. That’s been our story. We have two seniors, a few juniors, and most of our varsity kids are sophomores. They’re doing well.
“The future looks good,” he said. “The kids are competing. They’re wrestling hard. We’re definitely heading in the right direction.”
The Blue Devils, now 3-2 in MCC duals, host Chiawana Tuesday before ending regular-season league action the following Tuesday against Richland.