District wrestling: Gonzaga Prep holds off Central Valley for 4A title, Mead has 7 champions in 3A

Feb. 3—Following a three-point loss to 4A foe Central Valley during the regular season, Gonzaga Prep wrestling coach Danny Pearson told his team to remain patient and wait for another chance to prove themselves.

That chance came during Saturday's Greater Spokane League district tournament at the Spokane Convention Center — and the Bullpups did not disappoint.

Gonzaga Prep had six champions and advanced nine to next weekend's regional tournament while amassing 321 points, well ahead of second-place CV's 268 points and Lewis and Clark's 244.5.

"Nothing changed in our minds after that dual loss," Pearson said. "We just continued to do what we were doing and we kept telling our kids to trust in the process.

"We're still young and pretty inexperienced, and at the time of some of those duals, our youth was just kind of the progression, but winning the district tournament has been a goal from the start of the year."

Freshman Colton O'Connor set the tone early for the Bullpups with an 11-6 victory over Central Valley's Xander Karatzas at 106 pounds. Other Gonzaga Prep winners included Zachary Frazier (126), Samuel Kinkaid (144), Lawrence Jackson (150), Harrison Crooks (157) and Noah Holman (165).

Brothers Blaine and Bayden Beard won two of CV's four titles, while Lewis and Clark matched G-Prep's six champions led by returning state placer Bridger Cloninger at 175 pounds.

The top two finishers in each weight will advance to Saturday's Region 2 tournament at Mount Si High School in Snoqualmie.

"I don't know that we've seen a single one of the kids that we will wrestle next week at any point of the year," Pearson said. "And for younger kids that can be a really good thing."

—Mead has seven winners en route to 3A title: As the season gets closer to the finish line, Mead seems to be pushing down even harder on the gas pedal.

The Panthers' depth was again on full display in the 3A tournament as seven champions and 26 regional qualifiers totaled 512 points for the two-time defending Mat Classic champions.

"Every one of our guys comes in and scraps and competes really hard," Mead coach Phil McLean said, "Everybody stepped on the mat last night and today and they got after it. We have to finish rounds off right, we need to get the points when they're available and have our guys get greedy at all points of the match."

Kaysic Lundquist continued his stellar sophomore form by again topping Mt. Spokane's Tanner Crosby with a first-period pin at 106 pounds to give the Panthers their first champion.

Mead then had three consecutive winners at 120, 126 and 132 pounds — capped by defending state champion Josh Neiwert's victory over University's Caleb Burbank by technical fall.

Jeroen Smith also claimed a district championship with a major decision victory at 150 pounds. Smith, who along with Neiwert are two of Mead's senior leaders, was thrilled to be back wrestling in the postseason after missing last year due to transfer rules.

"We're peaking at the right time and we come into the wrestling room every day focused and ready to work," Smith said. "Missing out on this last year has made me really embrace it and enjoy it. This is my last run at a title in my high school career, so I'm really trying to let it all sink in."

University took second place in the team standings with 293.5 points. The Titans had two champions in Czar Quintanilla (113) and Samuel Thomas (165), while advancing 16 to regionals.

Mt. Spokane was third at 219 points with two champions and 12 regional qualifiers. Jayson Bonnett (138) and Brendan Hughes (215) won for the Wildcats.

"I thought we had some matches we could have won that we left on the table, and we have to get those to get to our ultimate goal," McLean said. "We have lots of work to do yet."

The top six district finishers will advance to the Region 4 tournament on Friday and Saturday at U-Hi.

—West Valley fends off rival East Valley to claim 2A title: After winning the regular-season league title for the first time since 1980, West Valley added a 2A district crown to the season's resume, fending off a challenge by East Valley.

Logan Utecht, a state runner-up last year, defeated teammate Cohen Clark at 138 pounds as one of the Eagles' three champions. WV finished with 262 points and will advance 12 to the Region 4 tournament Saturday in Ellensburg.

East Valley, which finished with a 2-3 record in GSL duals, nearly pulled off the postseason upset as champions Devin Pierce (175) and Micah Burkhart (215) helped the team total 231 points. The Knights will send 11 to the regional tournament against CWAC competition.

Brothers Ivan and Israel Acosta both earned pins in the title round for Pullman at 144 and 150 pounds, respectively, while Braeden Champion (120), Brayden Burgener (190) and Sam Picicci (285) claimed district titles for third-place Shadle Park.

—Deer Park claims Northeast 1A district crown behind trio of champions: Jonas Bond, Gavin Carnahan and Hezekiah Slind earned district titles as Deer Park continued its strong regular-season form to win the Northeast 1A district tournament title at Medical Lake High School.

The Stags finished with 267 points, comfortably ahead of second-place Riverside at 183 points.

Lakeside had a tournament-best four individual champions, while Freeman had three and Riverside added a pair.

The Region 4 tournament is Saturday in Quincy.

—Chewelah, Lind-Ritzville-Sprague shine in 2B/1B boys tournaments: With the 2B/1B district tournaments split into two leagues, Chewelah and Lind-Ritzville-Sprague took home the North and South titles, respectively.

Eighth-grader Trevin Stauffer was one of three title winners for Chewelah, which will send 11 wrestlers to Saturday's Region 3 tournament at Liberty (Spangle) High. Chewelah scored 193.5 points, holding off second-place Almira/Coulee-Hartline, which had 172.

Lind-Ritzville-Sprague had four champions, including Mat Classic third-place medalist Gabriel Smith at 215 pounds. The Broncos will send eight to regionals at Liberty. LRS finished with 202 points, while Liberty was second with 153.

—Defending state champ Pillers wins girls title: Newport's Madisen Pillers wasted no time claiming the 235-pound title in 2A/1A/2B/1B girls district tournament at the, as she was only forced to wrestle one match.

Pillers, a defending state champion, earned a bye to the finals in the three-girl bracket, where she pinned Royal's Analy Castillo in 1 minute, 17 seconds.

Rogers sophomore Savannah Taylor claimed the title at 110 by defeating teammate Yadira Covarrubias 7-3 in the finals.

Royal won the team title with 203.5 points. Rogers finished fourth with 76 points.