I ran into former Warden standout Martin Dominguez at, of all places, the Royal-Ellensburg football game last week.
Last time I talked with the 1A state champion from Cougar Country he was thinking he might try and walk on at Eastern Washington University to play football. But Big Bend Community College’s decision back in June opened the door for a lot of Columbia Basin wrestlers.
“I decided to keep wrestling at Big Bend,” the 220-pound state champion said. “We’ve been going all summer and we have a lot of guys from around here.”
The Vikings don’t have a roster posted yet, so I’m going on potential local talent more than specific numbers. But I’ve been on record as saying I think they can contend right out the gate for an NWAC title with local talent alone. Dominguez jumping on board just proves my point.
We’ve all seen a three-time Washington state champion run off to Eastern Oregon because of limited options outside the NCAA Division I ranks. Now there is an option and hiring coaches with local ties was a good move by Vikings athletic director Mark Poth.
Big Bend brought on Jose Tanguma and Ryan Foster to lead the men and women’s programs, respectively.
Moses Lake head coach Jaime Garza was knee deep in his fundraising golf tournament when we talked last summer, but he’s all for another avenue to get Chiefs to college. Not everyone has the talent Hunter Cruz did on his way to Fresno State, but Moses Lake certainly produces a talent level to wrestle at the next level. With a former Chiefs assistant running the room over at Big Bend, I see a nice little pipeline.
Tanguma, a Warden product, won 1A state titles at the 103, 112, and 119-pound weight classes before continuing his wrestling career at North Idaho College in Coeur d’Alene.
On the women’s side, I would think Big Bend might want to tap into Foster’s skill set with all of its athletic programs. Foster, a 2007 South Dakota state champion, has an extensive background in strength and conditioning. He’s the owner and head trainer at Fit Ephrata and carries a certification from the United States Academy of Weightlifting and the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
He also served as the Strength, Conditioning and Wellness Director at Southern Virginia University and spent this past year as the head coach of the Ephrata Middle School wrestling team.
I would think Foster’s first order of business would be the recruiting process of Mya Spencer, the Central Washington Girls Wrestling League Wrestler of the Year and the 2A state runner-up at 125 pounds.
When you look at the Othello girls success, coupled with a state champion producing Warden program. Throw in the Quincy, Royal and Wahluke girls, like the men’s program, the Big Bend women have the potential to knock on the door early.
I look for the Big Bend Vikings to be home grown, kickin’ tail and taking names this NWAC wrestling season.
Rodney Harwood is a sports writer for the Columbia Basin Herald and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org