The White River High gymnasium was the place to be Dec. 6, as some of the state’s top wrestling teams – and a handful of highly-ranked individuals – gathered for a night of competition.
The four teams attending were the host Hornets, who carried a No. 3 preseason ranking by Washington Wrestling Report; the Bonney Lake Panthers, ranked No. 6; the No. 12 Tahoma Bears; and the No. 15 squad from Lake Stevens.
In the end, it was White River providing quite a debut for first-year head coach Tim Kitchen. The Hornets registered a 48-31 victory over their Class 3A neighbors from Bonney Lake and knocked off the 4A Lake Stevens Vikings 41-33.
There were some familiar faces leading the charge for White River. Weston Lyver, competing at 152 pounds, won both his matches by pin and Nate Moore did the same at 160. At 170, Jack Ervien came up with a pin and a major decision. Mason Sabin, who went to state twice with Bonney Lake and now wrestles for White River, also had a pin and a major decision.
On the Bonney Lake side, three-time state champion Brandon Kaylor, at 126 pounds, pinned his White River opponent and scored a decision against Tahoma. Teammate Brenden Chaowanapibool, at 113, picked up two victories by decision and 120-pounder Usif Lillie scored a pair of pins.
In preseason rankings, White River’s Ryan Redford was ranked No. 3, Sabin was ranked No. 4, Lyver was eighth and Ervien was 10th. For the Panthers, Kaylor was judged to be No. 1, Sam Peterson was No. 3 and Lillie was No. 7.