Submitted by Coach Matt StaceyThe Grizzly Invitational tournament last Saturday proved to be a great proving ground with some of the strongest competition of the year. Running a strong 12 man bracket, and round robin brackets for the lady wrestlers, there were no easy weight classes in Hoquiam. With no give away weight classes, each and every victory was earned against great competition such as Cashmere, Mark Morris and Elma.
Three Mules fought their way to the finals. Dallas Gott was the first Mule to place. Wrestling in a ladies 4-person round robin, Dallas finished the day 2-1, putting her firmly in second place. This is Dallas' second all-ladies tournament, preparing her for the post season competition. In wrestling, the post season is divided, with individual men’s and ladies subs, regional and state tournaments.
In the mens bracket, sophomore Luke Stacey (126) and junior Mason Mackey (138) both earned their way into the finals. Mackey was able to dominate his competition on the way to the finals. However, in the finals, he found a real match. The wrestling came to a close loss for Mackey after several very questionable judgment calls by a first year referee. In this situation though, the final score is less important then the quality of competition Mackey was able to face. Matches like this set a person up for state competition. Stacey was able to pull out a pair of close wins on his way to facing an old rival for the Mules, Tony Raup from Winlock. (Raup wrestled Blayne Edwards two years ago in the state finals, and repeatedly last year.) Raup’s long spidery approach was able to tie up his victory, making Luke the third Mule to finish in second place.
With a last minute change in the tournament bracketing (going from 16 man down to a 12 man bracket) some wrestlers were unable to make it into the regular bracket. Sophomore Kody Vik (145) was one such wrestler who ended up with two matches “off the record,” both against Mark Morris. Kody had one of his most dominant days, winning both of his matches.
Three other Mules were able to place at Hoquiam. Because of the slow progression of the tournament, matches were only wrestled through the consolation semi-finals. True third and fifth places were not established. Placing in the “tied for fifth” position for the Mules were Alex Johnson (126), Jesus Crawford (132) and Brandon Burdick (145).
Back in the lineup for the first time this year was Junior Dylan Hansen at heavy weight. Dylan missed the first half of the season, and is catching up on mat time, but looks to have a promising year. The Mule lineup was rounded out by Nate Cothren 152, Adam Vasion 160, Trysan Mendez and Jr. Rameriz (170).
Next up for the Mules is the famed “Rubber Chicken” in Kalama this Saturday, followed by mix and matches January 23 at Ocosta and at La Center on January 25.