White River trumps Panthers

Jeremy Gurule pinned his 130-pound Bonney Lake opponent Gordie St. Pierre Thursday. - Photo by John Leggett
Jeremy Gurule pinned his 130-pound Bonney Lake opponent Gordie St. Pierre Thursday.
— image credit: Photo by John Leggett

Hornets take second at BLHS classic

With a narrow 36-32 victory over South Puget Sound League 3A neighbor and No. 9-ranked Bonney Lake Thursday night, the young White River High wrestling team finds itself with a 2-1 league record, sitting in second-place behind No. 1-ranked Enumclaw.

The Hornets and Hornets were scheduled to battle Jan. 7, but that match was canceled at the last minute due to weather and has been rescheduled for Jan. 29. White River’s Saturday tournament at W.F. West in Chehalis was also canceled due to flooding in that area, but the Hornets managed to sneak into the 19-team Bonney Lake Classic. The Hornets’ next contest is an SPSL 3A match up at 7 tonight, Wednesday, with Franklin Pierce.

In an evenly wrestled match with Bonney Lake, even the forfeits were exchanged one for one. The Hornets gave up six points in the 112-pound weight class and the Panthers handed over six at heavyweight.

“I didn’t think we could beat them,” coach Joe Klein said. “Winning the dual match was a big step for us.”

The Hornets and Panthers split the remaining 12 matches, but the difference was White River won four of those matches by fall and then played defense, holding the Panthers’ big guns to major decisions, which provides four points in team scoring, rather than technical falls, 5 points, or pins, six points.

“My advice to the kids was not to get pinned,” coach Joe Klein said. “It was a great match. It makes you look like a genius as a coach, but it was all the kids. They were solid.”

The Hornets earned their pins from 103-pounder Richard Geddes, who pinned his Panther opponent at the 4-minute, 39-second mark; Jeremy Gurule, who took Bonney Lake’s 130-pounder to the mat in 1:57; Gino Russell, at 171, who pinned his Panther foe in 1:33; and Joey Anderson, who stuck his 189-pound Panther nemesis in 1:10.

Alec Williams added three points to the Hornet team total with a 12-10 decision at 140 pounds, while Anthony Moore earned a one-point victory at 145 pounds on an illegal hold.

Bonney Lake earned its pins at 119 and 125 pounds and took major decisions at 135 and 152.

In the Bonney Lake Classic, The Hornets put two wrestlers – Gurule and Williams – in the finals and finished third behind 2A powerhouse Orting and the host Panthers.

“Orting, bar none, is one of the top teams in the state in any classification,” Klein said.

White River’s Williams lost a 12-1 contest to Orting’s Nikko Veltri in the 140-pound finals. He scored two major decisions and a 6-4 decision on his way to the final round.

Gurule was runnerup to Garrett Man of Orting after a 9-2 loss. Gurule found his way to the title round after a first-round bye and then scoring 41-second and 37-second pins.

Chase Myers finished third at 215 pounds with a 14-3 win over Steilacoom’s Ronald Scott.

The Hornets had a string of fourth-place finishes that included Geddes at 103 pounds, Moore at 145, Michael J. Madden at 160 and Russell at 171.

Caden Pugmire finished fifth at 152 pounds. Anderson, 189, and David Meagher, heavyweight, earned sixth-place finishes.

Reach Brenda Sexton at or 360-802-8206.

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