Seventeen teams from western Washington traveled to the Panther Wrestling Invitational at Bonney Lake High School Saturday for a dawn-to-dusk mat festival that saw White River, Bonney Lake and Sumner represent the Plateau proudly.
White River wound up being the bridesmaid, edged out by a balanced Centralia High bunch, which tabulated 224.5 points to the Hornets’ 204.5.
Hornet coach Joe Klein said the mid-level tournament helps the team build confidence. The Hornets placed five wrestlers in the finals, two _ heavyweight David Meagher and 125-pounder Brandon Short – earning titles, and had 15 kids total place at the tournament, many new to the varsity program.
“It was good for our younger varsity kids to see some success,” Klein said. “Centralia has a solid team. I haven’t seen them in a couple years. We didn’t know where we would be at the beginning of the day. After the first round we were in second and I guess we kind of just settled in there.”
White River featured grapplers in a handful of championship bouts, including Richard Geddes at 103 pounds; Short, who took the belt at 125 pounds; Alec Williams, who narrowly lost 2-1 to Bonney Lake’s Nick Bendon in the 140-pound championship clash; Jeff Kisner at 171; and unlimited challenger Meagher, who managed a fall over Juanita High’s Cody Treddenbarger at 3 minutes, 52 seconds.
White River’s Austin Shirley, Anthony Moore and Connor Leckman finished third in their 135-, 145- and 160-pound divisions, respectively. The Hornets also got fifth-place finishes from Robert Kautzman, Tony Tyler, Caden Pugmire, Austin Bethel, Noah Geehan, as well as a seventh from Kyle Rodarte and an eighth from Jacob Short.
The host Panthers finished fourth with 143.5 points. This was about what head coach Anthony Clarke projected, as the Panthers were without the services of heavyweight Jared Dorsey, who had suffered a concussion only a few days earlier. But Bonney Lake received big points from Andrew Cunningham, the runner-up at 112 pounds, as well as Bendon and Josh Peart, the one-two punch for the Panthers at 140 and 145. Clarke also had praise for James Jackson and Robbie Slick, who finished fifth in their respective 103 and 119 weight classes, but most of all freshman Matt Yuste, who finished fourth in a competitive 125-pound weight class.
Sumner finished 15th with 38 points and gleaned good showings from Markus Forhan, 119 pounds, Zach Wooding, 135 pounds, Tyler Hidalgo, 145 pounds, and Alex Bricker at 160 pounds.