By AARON MEAD
SPOKANE — Ilwaco’s wrestling team had a big weekend in Spokane, taking home five individual first place finishes at Friday’s Rumble at the River tournament at the Spokane Convention Center, then going 4-1 in dual meets at the same venue on Saturday.
At the Friday, Jan. 21 tournament, Jack Odneal (145 pound weight class), Brandon McMullen (182), Marcus Connor (195), Alec Bell (220) and Marcello Lazaro (285) all took first place. Odneal won his final match aginst Jaeger Adams of Mead, who is ranked sixth at the 4A level. McMullen pinned his opponents in semifinals and finals. The rapidly rising Connor pinned all three opponents. Bell defeated Nicholas Schrurger of Mary Walker by a 7-1 decision in finals. Lazaro won a 10-0 decision over East Valley’s Jacob Halvorsan in finals. Ghannon Whelden (113), Wilfredo Mendez (120), and Daylin Kemmer (170) all took second.
On Saturday, at the Dream Duals, Ilwaco won dual meets against Davenport, Mary Walker, Mead and Liberty but lost to Tonasket by a 36-21 margin, and thus finished second at the event behind Tonasket. “Tonasket is a perennial power,” Ilwaco coach Kevin McNulty said. “They’re more solid up and down the lineup. We have very strong spots, and spots that we’re still developing. The bottom line is, we needed some upsets to win, and we didn’t get them.”
Odneal went 8-0 on the weekend, and Lazaro was 6-0.
“The good thing was we didn’t see anyone we’ve faced this year. We got to see teams from central and eastern Washington,” McNulty said. “There was tough competition. We came away with some things we need to work on. Wrestling better people shows you where your flaws are.”
Earlier in the week, on Tuesday, Ilwaco competed along with five other teams at a mix-and-match in Rainier. Mendez, Odneal, McMullen and Bell all went 2-0.
“McMullen got two good wins for league seeding, one against a kid that’s state-ranked,” McNulty said.
Ilwaco hosts the Beach Brawl this Saturday, Jan. 28.