CASTLE ROCK - Taylor Odneal placed second in the District IV Regional Wrestling Tournament and Dylan Short finished third in their weight divisions Saturday, Feb. 12 in Castle Rock. The strong finishes mean both seniors punch their tickets to the Feb. 18 and 19 Mat Classic XXIII in the Tacoma Dome, wrestling's colorful and exciting version of the state tournament. Odneal won his first three regional bouts at 160 pounds before dropping the title match and Short won four matches against one loss at 285 pounds at regionals to earn third.

"Two weeks ago, I was concerned about whether or not Taylor Odneal (32-8) could make it out of sub-regionals even though he is a returning state placer (sixth last year). Our league is very deep at 160 pounds. Dylan Short (24-6) wrestled well and we are excited for him. Dylan was an alternate to state last year at 285 and that left a sour taste in his mouth," said coach Kevin McNulty.

"This year Dylan has put together a very good regular season and finished third at both subs and regionals with both losses coming to big Wade Huett from Stevenson. Dylan beat Kyle Orth from Castle Rock for third, which was a nice win as they had split (two matches) this year," McNulty related.

Josh Berteaux at 130 pounds, Hunter Stockfleth at 112 pounds, Isrrael Bautista at 119 pounds, and Ryan Edwards at 215 pounds all wrestled two very competitive matches in the regional tournament, but were defeated in each. All four Fishermen wrestlers lost to at least one wrestler who reached the finals in their weight class. All had entered the tournament as fourth seeds and were pitted against number one seeds from the Evergreen League in their opening bouts.

Alternates Corbin Sutherland, Owen Sutherland, Adam Hernandez and Beau Morrow, and Raven Rogers in the girls' tournament did not participate at regionals as all of the wrestlers in their brackets made their weigh-in and were able to compete.

"Taylor was 26-6 in the regular season, but four of those losses were to 160 pounders from our league. Last year, it was tough to swallow that Dylan didn't go to state. He was in a match to go to state and hit a nice move with short time to go, but slipped and gave up the takedown with very short time," McNulty explained.

"Josh Bertueax (25-14) wrestled well, but his first match was against Elma's 2A state champion and this year's regional champion. He then lost to league nemesis Erdlebrock from Castle Rock. Josh was very controlled, but defeated by two guys that have spent more years on the mat than Josh," McNulty said. "Weights 130, 160 and 285 were very deep and with a lot of talented wrestlers.

"Hunter Stockfleth (18-18) suffered two losses, but gained some regional experience as a freshman. He is off to a good start to his high school career. Isrrael Bautista's first match was against Cutter Grahn from Forks, who ended up winning the regional championship. Isrrael (19-15) lost a close second match 5-2 in a bout that could have gone either way," McNulty praised.

"Ryan Edwards (19-12) opened his day with eventual finalist Casey Felder of Elma, and then had a match in which he had his opportunities but it wasn't to be. Ryan had the kid on his back, but got rolled through and suffered a 14-8 loss," McNulty related.

Odneal is slated to begin his Mat Classic XXIII action at 12:32 p.m. Friday, Feb. 18 on mat number three against Chris Cole of Cascade Christian in bout number 79. Short will begin wrestling at State the same day at 1:28 p.m. on mat two in bout number 106 against Colby Mead from Riverside.

Castle Rock won the district title, Ridgefield was second, Stevenson third, and LaCenter was fifth from the Trico League. Last year Nakasha Custer won Ilwaco's only girls' regional championship and finished third at the Mat Classic. She returned to Mount Baker this season and finished second in her region and will again wrestle at the state girls' competition.

For updates on Odneal and Short on Feb. 18 and 19, go to www.chinookobserver.com and for complete Mat Classic XXIII results for all 14 weight classes in each of the five boys' state tournaments and the 12 weight divisions in the girls' tournament, go to www.wiaa.com and then go to "Winter Sports" and "Wrestling" under the tab "Athletics & Activities."

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