SPOKANE — Ilwaco’s wrestlers took a short flight across the Cascades for events at the Spokane Convention Center Friday and Saturday Jan. 18-19.
Friday was the Rumble on the River, an individual tournament with brackets. Saturday was the Dream Duals, with six schools taking turns facing each other in dual meets. Ilwaco had three first-place finishers Friday, and went 2-2-1 in dual meets against five schools Saturday.
On Friday, Ghannon Whelden, Keegan Kemmer and Landin Frank won finals in their respective weight classes, and Aiden Autellet took second.
In 138-pound finals, Kemmer faced Alexander Gonzalez of Medical Lake. Gonzalez led 6-2 after round one, winning tough battles for control but never keeping it for long as the wrestlers traded moves and counter-moves.
In round two, Kemmer turned the match around. Gonzalez threw all his weight at Kemmer’s chest but seemed almost to bounce right off as Kemmer turned him back, got on top of him, and leveraged his arms for a near-fall to lead 8-6 at the end of the round.
By the third round, Gonzalez was tentative and Kemmer was the aggressor, quickly slamming Gonzalez to the mat and keeping control the rest of the way for the 10-6 win.
In 132 finals, Whelden faced Logan Tonsgard of Granite Falls, who made the 2A Region One tournament last year as a freshman. Whelden got Tonsgard leaning slightly, dug his head into his side and brought him down for the first take-down. Whelden started the second round on the bottom and, about a minute in, got Tonsgard by the legs for a reversal. He dominated the rest of the match, winning 12-0.
At 182, there weren’t enough wrestlers for full brackets, but Landin Frank took first by winning all four of his rounds by pin. Two of these pins came within the first 45 seconds of a match. Second-place Sam Nelson gave him his toughest battle. The two were tied at 2-2 after one round, and Nelson started the second round on top. Frank came up immediately, and the two grappled for a few seconds. As the two went to the ground, Frank used a quick shoulder move to get on top of Nelson and secured the pin. At 2:16, it was Frank’s longest match of the day.
First place finishes by Whelden, Kemmer and Frank, Autellet’s second-place finish, a third-place finish from Trevor Hutson and a fourth-place mark from Bryan Sparks helped Ilwaco finish ninth out of 28 teams at the tournament.
Dual meets treat wrestling as a team sport: two schools send wrestlers against each other from each weight class in turn. This contrasts with multi-school tournaments like Friday’s event, which are designed to crown an individual champion in each weight class.
Ilwaco won dual meets over Liberty and a combined team of Mary Walker and Northwest Christian-Colbert, both by 36-18 scores. Ilwaco and East Valley tied at 36. Ilwaco lost 66-12 to Mead and 45-15 against Tonasket.
Also on Saturday, Ilwaco’s girls and some of its boys competed closer to home in Raymond. Serna Kuhn went 2-0 for first place. Jaymie Patana and Daniela Mendez were each 2-1, and Carli Kemmer was 0-2. Griffin Cutting and Chris Lake were the top performers for the boys team, each finishing 2-2.
Chris Wood, Gabriel McCargish, and Corey Morrison all went 2-0 at Life Christian Academy (Tacoma) Thursday, Jan. 17. For the girls’ team, Kuhn won her only match, and Mendez went 1-1.