Bantams wrestling team shows heart despite loss to West Valley

Jan. 4—The Clarkston wrestling program has taken several steps forward over the past two seasons, and took another one on Wednesday. The Bantams fell 45-32 in a competitive wrestling dual against the West Valley Eagles at Clarkston High School.

Clarkston started off at a disadvantage after having to forfeit in the 190-pound match due to an injury to Grant Stevens, but still led the overall team scoring with three matches to go.

"(Clarkston) beat us in the matches that really counted," West Valley coach Geoff Hensley said. "So even though we walked out a winner, we kind of don't feel like it."

Here's how Wednesday's Washington Class 2A Greater Spokane League wrestling dual shaped up:

Valdez, Ockwell get the Bantams rolling

Clarkston's forfeit in the 190-pound match and first-period pins by West Valley in the 215 and 285-pound contests gave the Eagles an 18-0 advantage early in the dual.

The Bantams' lone girl on the roster, Mackenzie Weza, was the first to get her team on the board, earning a first-period pin at 106. But Clarkston's momentum truly started rolling once the 120-pounders took the mat.

Colby Valdez scored the pin in the 120-pound match, and 126-pounder Clayton Ockwell followed with arguably his best showing of the season.

Ockwell was down against opponent Jaiden Peak for most of the match, expressing frustration throughout over what he appeared to interpret as Peak going after his headgear in tie-ups.

With 15 seconds left in the third period, and down 6-4, Ockwell needed to score quick points to ensure either a victory or a continuation of the match.

He got just that.

After both opponents went to the center after going out of bounds, Ockwell shot out from the official's whistle and scored a quick takedown which led to a 3-point nearfall, giving him a 9-6 decision win.

Ockwell's win kicked off a streak for the Bantams. They won three of the next four matches (Gabe Weza by technical fall at 132, Geo Alba by pin at 138 and Bodee Thivierge by pin at 150) and led the overall team scoring 32-27 going into the final three matches.

"For Clayton, that was a big confidence-booster for him," Clarkston coach Corey Thivierge said. "He's been on a slide lately and that match was huge. Bodee's match at 144, I was super nervous about that match. Because I've seen (Simeon Mattingly) wrestle. I've seen that kid place at tournaments that we didn't place at. I'm just super proud of the team and how we wrestled."

Run falls short

Clarkston had to give up another forfeit in the 165-pound weight class due to not having a wrestler eligible to compete. This forced the Bantams into a must-win situation for both the 175 and 157-pound matches to secure the overall win against West Valley.

Clarkston wasn't able to complete the comeback, and lost via first-period pins in its final two matches.

But, for Corey Thivierge, he looked at the loss from a glass-half-full mindset. Two forfeits is a drastic improvement from last season where they had as many as six at a dual due to not having eligible competitors.

The Bantams put together a competitive outing against an Eagles team that, in Thivierge's eyes, will probably be in the running for a 2A Greater Spokane League crown.

"This was a huge momentum and confidence-booster for us," Corey Thivierge said. "I 100% believe (West Valley's) probably going to win the league title. They're just solid all the way through. For us to compete against a team like that, with as young as we are, our future is looking really good. We're going to be fine."

West Valley 45, Clarkston 32

106 — Mackenzie Weza, Clk, p. Anthony Berube, first. 113 —Jaxn Fraser, W.V., p. Douglas, first. 120 — Colby Valdez, Clk, p. Brodey Mogan, first. 126 — Clayton Ockwell, Clk, dec. Jaiden Peak 9-6. 132 — Gabe Weza, Clk, tech fall. Kartyr Schroeder 20-5. 138 — Geo Alba, Clk, p. Cohen Clark, first. 144 — Logan Utecht, W.V., dec. Dawson Bailey 7-1. 150 — Bodee Thivierge p. Simeon Mattingly, first. 157 — Gavin Lindor, W.V., p. William Mosman, first. 165 — Champ Bailey, W.V., forfeit. 175 — Bailey, W.V., p. Silas Newhouse, first. 190 — Andrew Royston, W.V., forfeit. 215 — Matthew Duthie, W.V., p. Markus Ellenwood. 285 — Logan Leeson, W.V., p. Justyn Watters, first.

JV — Clarkston 64, West Valley 0.

Kowatsch can be contacted at 208-848-2268, or on Twitter @Teren_Kowatsch.