Best in the West Wrestling
Asa Schwartz faced off with a Liberty Bell opponent at a recent home wrestling match. Asa defeated his teammate, Alex Cortez in the 195 pound class at the ‘Best in the West’ wrestling tournament over the Christmas break. This its 12 years, the ‘Best in the West’ has become one of the largest wrestling tournament on the west coast. (File photo by Richard Uhlhorn)
Chelan wrestling team takes 4th at Best of the West
Cole and Asa Schwartz take individual titles
By Richard Uhlhorn (report submitted by Coach Jay McGuffin)
The Best of the West Wrestling Tournament in Pasco, Washington, had 34 teams from Oregon, Washington and Idaho competing in both a team event and then an individual event over the Christmas Holidays.
On day one, the Chelan Goats wrestled all the way to the semi-finals only to lose to the four time State Champions from Hermiston, Oregon, a 5A school. “We gave them all they wanted and more,” said Coach Jay McGuffin. “We just came up a little short.”
This is the year to introduce yourself
to Chelan High School’s
Come see the Double Dual Match on
Thursday evening, January 5
The Goats then wrestled Mountain View for third or fourth place and lost to them, bringing home a fourth place trophy out of 34 teams competing.
Chelan was one of only a few 1A teams in the tournament. On the first day in team dual action, Chelan beat North Central from Spokane 38-38. “It came down to the last match and we needed a pin to win,” McGuffin reported. Chelan junior Luis Garcia stepped up and in the third round, down by three points, caught his opponent and pinned him for the individual and team win..
In the next round the Goats ran up against a solid team from Nampa, Idaho. By the time this match was over, the team score was 39-39. The deciding factor to determine the winner was based on a series of criteria. It wasn’t until the eighth criteria was reached that the Goats finally won the match. Up to that point both teams were still tied at 39-all. The eighth criteria was based on which team scored the most first points in each match. “I couldn’t believe it went to the eighth criteria,” said McGuffin. It pumped the team up and they were excited to go all the way.
In the quarterfinals, the Goats wrestled Battle Ground from the Vancouver area. The Goats won this match 36-34.
On day two, a 32-man single elimination individual tournament hit the mats. The Goats had six wrestlers reach the top eight including Erick Garcia (126 lbs.) Billie Poppie (160 lbs.) Cole Schwartz (182 lbs.), Asa Schwartz (195 lbs.) Alex Cortez (195 lbs.) and Luis Garcia at heavyweight.
Out of these six wrestlers, four of them reached the finals and two went on to win the tournament.
Defending State Champion Cole Schwartz placed second at this tournament last year and was determined to not leave it this year without the gold medal around his neck. Schwartz dominated his opponent from Prairie, Oregon in the finals, wining with a major decision, 12-3.
Alex Cortez and Asa Schwartz see each other on the mat every day at Chelan High School. Both made the finals at this tournament. “It’s an impressive feat to make the finals of this tournament,” stated McGuffin. “To have two of your wrestlers make the finals against each other simply amazed me and I am very proud of them.”
Asa Schwartz came out the winner, beating teammate Cortez in a close match. “As hard as these guys work in practice and outside the room, I hope the final grudge match is settled in the middle of the Tacoma Dome during the Mat Classic,” said McGuffin.
Erick Garcia made the finals at 126 pounds, but lost a close 3-1 decision to a wrestler from Pasco and ended up placing second.
The team wrestled on December 29 in a Christmas Tournament at Royal and GoLakeChelan will report the results of that tournament when they become available.
If you have never been to a wrestling match, this is definitely the year to do it. Chelan has a strong cadre of wrestlers including a defending state champion and they are fun to watch.
Put Thursday, January 5, on your calendar as Chelan hosts a huge double dual at home in the Chelan High School gymnasium.