Alby Paz (171 lbs.) is an unknown to the high school wrestling teams because he was unable to wrestle during his freshman and sophomore years because of injuries. He didn’t play football this year because he is focused on wrestling and is already making other teams take notice of his abilities.
Wrestling team busy over the holidays
By Richard Uhlhorn (as reported by Coach Jay McGuffin)
The “Best of the West” Wrestling Tournament (December 21 & 22) and Royal Cities annual Christmas Tournament (December 29) gave the Chelan wrestlers plenty of mat time during the Christmas break.
The “Best of the West” is a multi-state wrestling tournament held in Pasco. It brings 32 teams from Washington, Oregon and Idaho.
During the first day of competition a dual tournament is held and Chelan went 2-3 on the day. “This was our first experience with a tournament of this caliber,” reported McGuffin. “A lot of quality wrestlers from different parts of the Pacific Northwest come to this tournament. Overall I was happy with how we performed.”
Coach McGuffin likes the format because each wrestler on the team has to step-up and wrestle five matches throughout the day, which isn’t typical of a normal tournament. “It makes for good preparation for the post season when kids will have to wrestle on multiple days,”
On Day 2, the tournament turns to a single elimination event with all the athlestes from the day before getting a chance to wrestle again. Chelan placed 12th out of 32 teams with two Goat wrestlers winning four matches in a row and making the finals. Those two wrestlers were Alby Paz (171 lbs.) and Cole Schwartz (189 lbs.).
“Alby is an unknown and wasn’t seeded on the day because he didn’t wrestle as a freshman or sophomore because of injuries. “He’s certainly making a name for himself around the state now,” says Coach McGuffin.
Schwartz made the MAT Classic as a freshman, but didn’t wrestle as a sophomore because of a football injury. “This year he is extremely focused and has his goals set high for what he wants to accomplish.” Schwartz is an extremely accomplished athlete and was recently received an honorable mention for All-State Football.
Both wrestlers placed second at the tournament.
On Wednesday, December 28, the wrestling team traveled to Royal City for its annual Christmas Tournament. “This is one of the toughest tournament is one of the toughest we attend because it brigns together all the quality 1A schools from our league and throughout the state.”
Chelan placed 10th out of the 17 teams that showed up.
At 215 pounds, Alex Cortez placed second at the tournament with Billie Poppie (145 lbs.) and Jose Aparicio (heavyweight) both placing fourth. Jorge Villasenor (160 lbs.) placed fifth.
“The brackets were stacked with state vets and placers, so placing at this tournament is a real accomplishment,” said McGuffin. “The guys that did so should be very proud of what they did, and it should be a confidence booster that carries them through to the post season.”