WARDEN — Warden High School hosted the SCAC East district boys wrestling tournament over the weekend. Connell walked away with the top team score.
The Royal Knights finished in second place with a final score of 255.0, 38 points off first place but more than 80 points ahead of the third-place Cougars. Wahluke came in at fourth at 134.
At 106, Royal’s Isaac Toro lost a 9-4 decision to Connell’s Jordan Mendez in the championship round to take second place on Saturday afternoon. Wahluke’s Josue Mendoza grabbed the 13-11 decision over Warden’s Angel Cruz to finish third in the weight class.
In a battle brewing since the womb, twin brothers Cael and Cason Cox of Warden faced off for the title in the 113 weight class. Cael picked up the 5-0 decision over his brother to take the top place over the weekend.
Royal’s David Calderon nabbed the pin against Connell’s Joseph Martinez 0:34 into the first round to take third at 113. Wahluke’s Rodrigo Garcia finished fifth.
Salvador Avalos of Wahluke took second place at 120, falling with 0:18 remaining in the first round against Connell’s Johnathan Magana. Warden’s Tony Martinez picked up the pin early in the second round against Wahluke’s Jose Herrera to take third.
Royal’s Yahir Morales lost a 9-6 decision to Connell’s Abel Morales in the final round of the 126 weight class, taking second on Saturday. Fellow Knight Vidal Abundiz finished third with a 5-3 decision over Warden’s Garrett Chamberlain. Wahluke’s Kevin Lopez took fifth.
Dominic Martinez grabbed the top spot at 132 for Royal over Warden’s Brenton Cole. Israel Hernandez finished fourth for the Cougars, while Wahluke’s Giovanni Nunez placed sixth in the weight class.
At 138, Warden’s Dahani Trupp fell 1:00 into the second round to River View’s Miles Lozier in the championship round, placing second. Wahluke’s Sergio Tapia finished third with a 9-4 decision over Royal’s Eric Myrick.
Royal Knight Kaleb Hernandez picked up the pin 11 seconds into the second round against Kiona-Benton’s Keaton Covington to take first at 145 on Saturday. Warden’s Derek Gonzalez picked up a 14-12 decision against Rafael Juarez of Wahluke to place fifth.
Holden Haworth grabbed the top finish for Warden at 152, pinning Royal’s Mark Martinez with just 10 seconds left in the first round. Royal’s Brian Hernandez fell to Adrian Magana of Connell in the third-place match to take fourth.
Royal’s Lorenzo Myrick took the first place spot at 160, taking a narrow 10-9 decision over Connell’s Jaxsen Tuttle.
Benji Bustos took first in the 170 weight class for the Knights, picking up a 6-0 decision over Connell’s Jekoby Tuttle. Royal’s Clinton Garnick grabbed the first round pin for the third place finish as well, defeating Wahluke’s Abraham Gonzalez.
Wahluke’s Abel Castaneda took the 8-6 decision over his opponent from Ki-Be for the third-place finish in the 182 division. Warden’s Zeke Guerra placed fifth in the weight class.
Warden’s Eduardo Suarez grabbed a second-round pin against Royal’s Jack Mejia to finish third at 195 on Saturday afternoon. Wahluke’s Anthony Zebrano nabbed the fifth-place spot.
Kevin Dominguez grabbed yet another first-place finish for the Knights at 220, picking up the pin 35 seconds into the third round against River View’s Bryson Ashley. Seth Yorgensen of Wahluke picked up the pin in the second round over Connell’s Eliseo Castillo for third place.
Royal’s Freddy Gaxiola finished fifth in the same division on Saturday.
Wahluke’s Pedro Castaneda fell shortly over a minute into the first round in the final championship bout of the day at 285. Castaneda took second against College Place’s Alex Smith, while fellow Warrior Alexis Rivera placed fifth at the same division.
Royal head coach Ben Orth said he felt his team wrestled really well in the finals on Saturday.
“You’re always fine tuning things, always finding things you need to get better at, as we go into next weekend especially,” Orth said.
Orth was honored as the SCAC East Coach of the Year before the championship rounds on Saturday. The Royal head coach said the honor really falls to the kids more than himself.
“They’re the ones who really do it all,” Orth said. “I would just defer 100 percent of it to them, and to the assistant coaches and everyone behind it. It’s a nice honor, but, ultimately, it’s really about their efforts and everything they put into it.”
The Knights’ head coach said Kaleb Hernandez is “in a flow” right now at 145, hitting his techniques well from one move to the next. Orth also said he was impressed with Lorenzo Myrick’s and Benji Bustos’ efforts in their championship bouts against the Tuttle brothers from Connell.
As the roads draw closer to Tacoma, Orth talked about what he’s looking to work on with his team in the final practices.
“You just see the areas we’re doing well and need to continue, and then you see the areas we just really need to work on, specific techniques,” Orth said.
Warden head coach Brent Cox said it’s always good to have wrestlers peaking around this time.
“For most of them, they are, they’re peaking right at the right time,” he said. “We saw a lot of good things from our younger guys that maybe haven’t had this experience before.”
Seeing that peak championship performance from his younger wrestlers is something the Warden coach said makes him proud to see.
Brent Cox said the Cougars had some kids come in as the third or lower seed and fight their way into the finals.
“They all just set to be putting it together, we’re happy for them,” he said.
Moving forward, the Cougars’ coach said they’ll start to review film because he knows they’ll see a lot of the wrestlers they saw this weekend again before the season’s over.