|2/28/2014 7:55:00 PM|
Chelan grapplers show
Goat pride at State tourney
|Asa Schwartz takes control of the championship match last Saturday night against Joel Ward of Forks High School. Eventually, the tied-at-zero match turned in Schwartz’s favor, earning him a second State title.|
|Chelan High School wrestling Coach Jay McGuffin gets into the matches at the Mat Classic State tourney this past weekend.|
When the final whistle blew, Asa Schwartz raised one hand in the air, dedicating his second State trophy to Randy McGuffin.
"He's with us always," Schwartz said with tears in his eyes.
McGuffin was part of the Chelan High School wrestling program for nearly 30 years and last spring, he passed away; leaving the team and Chelan community in shock and tears.
"It was the first State tournament he's missed," Chelan Coach Jay McGuffin, and son of Randy, said.
Though Randy is continually missed by everyone who knew him, it's sure he's looking down with pride at the performances displayed at this past weekend's Mat Classic, State wrestling tournament.
Schwartz cruised through his matches beginning on Friday morning, with a quick win by pinning Rochester's Matt Shields in 1:43. Next up was Kiona Benton's Tanner Cook. Schwartz dominated that match, too, by a 10-4 decision. Mikey Hernandez of Ward was the next Schwartz victim. The Chelan grappler took the match by a 10-0 decision.
It was on to the finals, Saturday night, where Schwartz faced Forks High School wrestler Joel Ward.
The score was double zeros into the third round, when finally, Schwartz got the upper hand, earning the 220-lb. State title by a 4-0 decision.
"It was so special when (Asa) came off the mat, he said to me 'You know who I wrestled that match for? I did it for your dad'," Coach Jay McGuffin said.
"I went out there, and that match was for your dad, I love him so much," Schwartz said to his coach.
The reminder of his dad's absence loomed with every regular attendee of the tourney, who continually asked Jay where his father was this year.
"It was a very emotional weekend, for me, as well, tackling the State tournament without my partner in crime. It was tough. My dad was so personable. Every body loved him. He treated everyone like a good friend. A number of people asked why he wasn't (at the tourney) this year. It wasn't easy to share that," McGuffin said.
But despite the emotionally tough times this past weekend, there was another emotion roaring throughout the tourney.
"I am super, super excited with how the kids wrestled at State. They went out there with a lot of heart and a lot of mat sense," McGuffin added.
McGuffin says as a coach, everything that he was looking for at the State level was accomplished by all seven of the Goat grapplers who made appearances on the State mat. He says it makes him proud, and anxious for the next season.
"All the technique you've shown them, all the conditioning you've put them through, I feel like as a coach, all those really came out in each individual at State," McGuffin said.
The Chelan coach added that all CHS wrestlers really performed on the weekend, showing skill and technique that would, and did, make a coach proud.
Also earning State recognition for the Goats was Juan Garica, who placed fourth in the 152-lb. division.
Garcia earned the win by fall at 4:36 over Stevenson's Colton Vanpelt. Devyn Daniels of Zillah pinned Garcia in his second match of the tourney in 5:15. That put Garcia on the road to the consolation finals against Kiona Benton's Kareem Johnson. The Chelan wrestler took that match by an 8-0 decision. He continued winning by a 10-4 decision over Freeman's Konner Forshag.
Garcia was forced to face Daniels again, for the third/fourth-place title.
It was all Daniels, of Zillah, for most of the bout, until the final minute of the third round, when Garcia made a huge comeback, earning him several points for takedowns and escapes. He nearly pinned the Zillah grappler, but the buzzer beat him to the punch, leaving a 2-point deficit for Garcia.
Daniels prevailed by a 7-5 decision, giving Garcia the fourth-place medal on the tourney.
Chelan's Julio Vera (126-lbs.) also took top-four honors at the State contest this past weekend. Vera started out by winning a close 4-3 decision against Warden's Raul Martinez. Vera went on to face Paul Newell of Nooksack. Vera took the lead in that match as well, by a 5-3 decision.
Vera was defeated by Tanner Sample of Elma by a 3-1 decision.
That put Vera into the consolation finals, against Blaine's Riley Fritsch.
Fighting for a chance to compete in the third-place match, the two battled it out into overtime. The Chelan wrestler, Vera, eventually took the victory by a 6-4 decision in the overtime round.
Hootie Judd of Lakeside was the only thing standing in Vera's way of a third-place medal.
Judd defeated Vera by a 16-3 decision, giving the Chelan grappler fourth-place at the State contest.
The other Chelan teammate earning top-eight honors at the tourney was CHS junior Ivan Reyes, wrestling at 120-lbs.
Reyes dropped Stevenson's Cody Miller by an 11-6 decision in his first match of the tourney.
A setback for Reyes was Royal's Carlos Hernandez, who defeated him 17-3, sending Reyes to the consolation bouts.
Vera shut down Woodland's Josh Pratt by a 12-0 decision, sending him further in the tourney. Vera lost by one against Tonasket's Collin Aitcheson, 9-8. That took Vera to a match against Lakeside's Cola Ahrendt. Vera defeated his Lakeside competitor 10-8 in overtime, giving him the seventh-place medal at the State level.
Chelan's Angel Hernandez (113-lbs) also made a State appearance, losing the chance at top-eight honors by a 2-point decision.
Hernandez started the State tourney by losing his first match of the day to Montesano's Jacob Ellefson, taking Hernandez to the consolation bracket. There, he faced Ilwaco's Hunter Stockfleth. Hernandez earned a 7-2 win. He went on to face Forks High School wrestler Alvaro Ortiz, losing that match by a 2-0 decision, thus eliminating Hernandez from the tourney.
Chelan's Jairo DeLaCruz also fell just short of the top-eight in the 145-lb. weight class. DeLaCruz lost to Javier Contreras of Forks by fall in 3:59. He faced Mark Briggs of Goldendale in the consolation bracket, earning an 11-6 win. DeLaCruz was eliminated from the tourney by Freeman's Jesse Schmidlkofer by a 6-4 decision.
"Angel and Jairo, they were right there," McGuffin said. "So close."
The final Chelan grappler making a State appearance was Justin Buyas, at 132 lbs. Buyas fell Ramses Rodelo of Warden in 3:45. In his second match at the tourney, Buyas was eliminated after being pinned by Kalama's Jacob Posey in 1:38.
Had the two Chelan wrestlers won their final matches, they would have earned top-eight honors in the tourney.
The big picture, for McGuffin, is that six of the nine who traveled to State this year, including the two alternates (Kevin Monje and Julian Buyas), will be returning next season.
"The six kids returning have been to State, and have bought in to the idea of success," he added.
"I know those six are going to be very hungry to make it back to State next year," He said.
Sending a two-time State champ off to graduation?
...icing on the cake.
Amber Schlenker can be reached at 509-682-2213 or by email
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