The young Goat wrestling team brought home second place hardware from the Sky Valley Invitational in Sultan this past Saturday.
Chelan wrestlers post a second place in Sultan
by Richard Uhlhorn
The annual Sky Valley Invitational in Sultan is a great proving ground for a wrestling team getting ready to enter the League battle for supremacy. "We got off on the right foot this year by placing second," reported Coach Jay McGuffin. “I think this week of practice paid off big for us today... every wrestler on the team was mentally and physically prepared to compete at a high level”
The Sky Valley Tournament had 12 teams competing and McGuffin said the kids were excited to bring home some hardware. "We've been training extremely hard since winter break, so this was a big motivator for our young squad."
Chelan currently had 29 wrestlers on the team with only three seniors. "This is the most I've ever had out for the program in my four years of coaching," said McGuffin during an interview prior to the Sultan tournament. "They all show up daily and work hard. We are not the power we were previously, but we have some motivated kids."
One of those wrestlers is freshman Eric Garcia (103 lbs.) who had placed in three tournaments prior to the winter break. At Sultan, Garcia wrestled at 112 pounds and was able to place third. Louis Rodriquez took second place in Sultan and at 125 pounds, Adelberth Guillen came through the back door to place third.
Senior Dillon Parker dominated the competition by winning in a technical fall in the finals 16-0. "Dillon was hurt during the first month of this season, so it was good to see him back to his old form which includes dominating opponents from the first whistle... attacking from all position, and wrestling hard for all six minutes."
At 135 Hank Burton lost a tight match in the semi final round to state placer Dillon Miller from Cashmere, but came back through the consolation rounds to place third.
At 171 Junior Jorge Villasenor had his best outing of the season by making his first final. "Jorge shows up everyday to work hard in practice and his patience is starting to pay off. Although he lost a tight match in the finals 3-0, I am really pleased with his progression this season."
At 189 Sophmore Arnie Lopez, placed first at his first tournament of the year by pinning his way to first place. "Arnie was in the zone today, he had the attitude of a warrior, dominating all four of his opponents by pin today. What a surprise from such a young wrestler who has only been wrestling for three years now."
At 215 pounds, Alexis Cortez, a freshman, also came through the back door to place third, winning a tight match in overtime for the bronze. "Cortez showed a lot of maturity in the third place match today which is sometimes unexpected from a freshman," said McGuffin. "He was down 1-0 in the third, but kept pressuring his opponent and ended up getting one point because of stalling calls which put the match into overtime. In overtime, he stepped up the pressure and took his opponent down for the win"
"Overall, this tournament was a good indicator as to where we are and where we still need to go," said McGuffin. "I am pleased with how everyone wrestled with the attitude to win... think offensively in all positions... and push opponents around with our physical shape. I think all the halls are starting to pay off!!!"
During our interview prior to this tournament, McGuffin said that Hank Burton (135 lbs.) was becoming the senior leader as a Captain. The team also has two girls vying for a state berth to the WIAA 1A Girls Wrestling Championships at MATT Classic in February. "They work just as hard as the boys," stated McGuffin.
Junior Solin Castro actually challenged Dillon Parker for a varsity slot. "Of course she got beat badly, but, hey, she challenged a wrestler who has qualified for the state championship three years in a row." McGuffin said she has always wanted to wrestle and is mentally tough and physically very strong.
The other girl wrestling with the team is Itzel Valera who just wanted to be in better shape. She is also wrestling competitively. "When we go to regionals, the girls will go to their own state qualifier for a chance to wrestle at MATT Classic.
The Goats will travel to Brewster on Thursday, January 14. On Friday, the Goats will travel over to Rainier for another Invitational that will feature the following schools: Tenino, Castle Rock, Kiona Benton, Lake Roosevelt, Kalama and Rainier.
The first home game will be against Cashmere and Cascade on Thurday night, January 21. They will also face Omak at home on Saturday, January 23.
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