MOSES LAKE — Physicality.
It’s a trait Moses Lake lacked at the district tournament and something the coaching staff has harped on this week. When push came to shove, literally, Moses Lake was on the wrong side of too many winner-to-regional matches last weekend.
“We fell short of our expectation, but that’s a testament of us getting tougher as a district,” head coach Jaime Garza said.
The Chiefs pushed eight wrestlers into the district finals and will have those eight to compete at regionals. Shockingly, no Chief wrestler was able to win a consolation final and — with only the top three advancing — the team was saddled with seven alternates.
However, it’s a strong eight.
Jonathan Tanguma (106), Riley Burgess (113), Hunter White (120) and Cruz Vasquez (152) are ranked in the Washington Wrestling Report. Maximus Zamora (126), Bryan Guzman (182) and Everett Ashley (195) were district runners-up, and Sebastian Rodriguez (285) was a district champion.
“I feel confident we should be able to send eight guys to the state tournament,” Garza said.
This year, the Columbia Basin Big Nine will pair with the 4A KingCo league at the regional tournament. The KingCo isn’t known for its wrestling powerhouses and no school is ranked in state. Previously, Moses Lake had to grind through a difficult regional tournament against the Spokane or Tri-Cities programs.
So, this weekend could be a respite from an improved district field.
“I feel like we’re paired with a district that will allow our district to have success,” Garza said. “Not to discredit them... I feel like this was one of our strongest district tournaments.”
Davis (No. 7) and district champion Sunnyside (No. 8) should still be the heaviest competition for Moses Lake.
The Chiefs matched up with the Grizzlies nine times in a district championship or consolation final and were unable to win any. Garza said the Grizzly wrestlers held the edge when it came to scrambling and keeping his wrestlers from scoring off the bottom.
Unlike most years, Moses Lake will not have to travel far a week before Mat Classic XXXI. Big Bend Community College will be this year’s host Saturday at 10 a.m.
“They get to wrestle in front of their fans. Being able to demonstrate all the work they’ve put in this season,” Garza said.
1A regional at Royal
District champion Royal will host this Saturday’s 1A regional tournament at 11 a.m.
The Knights have 15 participants, including district champions Dominic Martinez (120) and Lorenzo Myrick (160). District runner-up Warden will have 16 wrestlers in the field and Wahluke qualified four.
District champion Rodrigo Ozuna (145) is ranked third in state.
The Cougars will also bring district champs Cael Cox (106) and Holden Haworth (152). Cox is ranked eighth and Haworth is sixth.
1B/2B regional at Liberty
Almira/Coulee-Hartline and Lind-Ritzville/Sprague qualified seven and four wrestlers, respectively, for the 1B/2B regional tournament at Liberty High School.