The Bears have a number of wrestlers who should do very well this post-season. A few of them are in the first year of highschool wrestling and which gives the Bears stability for the future. However, freshman wrestlers such as Brandon Ashley, Junior Gonzales and Tony Chapin are not looking for future stability. They want to get to the state tournament now.
Ashley has won 18 matches and is the best 103 pounder the Bears have had since Sergio Avila wrestled there in 1998 and 1999. Ashley has had a few good matches with Romi Gonzalez of Grandview and is 1-1 versus Edgar Mendez of Connell, both top notch wrestlers. 103 is going to be a tough weightclass with the likes of Scott Thompson of E.Valley, Eric McKerlie of Cascade, AJ DeLeon of Othello, Kevin Mitchell of Tonasket, Aaron Hargrove of Cashmere and AJ Cummings of Ephrata. Brandon has defeated Thompson, Cummings and Thompson. Brandon will definetly have to be on top of his game starting with district. Only 5 of theses guys can move on to state.
Tony Chapin has 11 pins to tie with Ashley for the most by a freshman wrestler this year. He is only 2 behind the team high of 13 by Josh Corriell and Cody Roos. Chapin is a muscular wrestler who makes up for his lack of experience with a determination to win. With a little more experience, Chapin will be a very good wrestler. I expect to see him at state soon if not this year.
Junior Gonzales is probably the most improved wrestler on the team. He started the season 6-6, losing 2 of those matches to Bryan Caraway of Goldendale who placed 3rd at state last season. In both matches, Junior went the distance and lost only by decision. Junior has gone 14-2 since, including a tournament championship at the Grandview Winter Classic. He has won 10 straight going into the district meet where he will meet either Caraway or Prather of Connell or both again. Is a district title out of the question. Prather and Caraway have the experience and maybe the intimidation factor, but Gonzales has not seemed to be intimidated by anyone lately. Junior does not want to be an observer at the Mat Classic this year!
Freshman Ryan Burns and Craig Nunamaker would have been tough in the post-season, but grade problems will keep them out of competition this year. Ryan Phipps, Bryce Livesey (because of the stunning departure of Sergio Avila), and Jerry Haug are likely to get some post-season experience this year.
The guys to watch this year will be Josh Corke and Josh Corriell. Corke is undefeated at 24-0 and has dominated state placers all year. Will this be his year to take it all. He certainly has wrestled like it is. Corke has entered 4 tournaments and has won them all. He also went 5-0 at the "Best of the West" tournament. If someone is going to beat him they will have to be ready to be very physical. Corke does not give up points easily, you have to work for everything you get and he never lets up. Wrestling Josh Corke is a 6 minute brawl. Casey McCourtie of Othello found that out earlier this year when Corke defeated him 11-6. McCourtie knocked Josh out of a state spot at last years regionals and Josh has used that to motivate him this year. It could motivate him all the way to a state title. Expect Josh to add to the list of Ki-Be state champions. If not this year, then maybe next year, or maybe even both.
Josh Corriell is 23-4 this year with 1 loss to Jimmy Orozco of Connell (7th at state in '00) 6-5. He also lost 9-4 to Brandon Hern of South Whidby, the 171 state champ last year. And another loss was to Josh Edmondson of Medical Lake (3rd at 161 in '00) 6-4 in OT. The match with Edmondson, Josh dominated in every area except the score. He was more aggressive, he had more scoring opportunites. Twice he recorded takedowns just moments after the buzzer sounded. If they meet again at state, I would expect there to be a different ending. Orozco and Corriell will probably meet at districts and possibly again at regionals. Orozco may not be ready for what Corriell will bring at him this time. Josh got his first taste of state last year. Despite wrestling very well, he was out in 2 matches. Expect this year to be different. If Josh can get by Orozco and Edmondson, the finals may be insight.
Normally I would have said here how Sergio Avila was going to do great things this post-season. How he was going to have an all out war with Jon Limbeck and Joel Flores. How he was going to pull of a great state tournament and make the finals. But instead all I can say about Sergio is, I hope he has a great baseball season. He decided to give it up after 94 career wins and 3 state appearances and 2 medals.
Other senior wrestlers who will give it their all to finally make it to state will be: Ramon DelAngel, Cody Roos and Kyle Nickerson. All three can make it if they focus and prepare. They each have the talent and ability to get themselves to state. Ramon is 17-4 and is just know getting into a groove that could carry him through district and regionals to state. 57 career wins are a testament to the talent that Ramon has. Ramon has demonstrated a monster double leg this year that devastates opponents. It seems that whenever he wants to he can dominate an opponent. If he can keep his focus then it should be no problem for Ramon to get to state.
Kyle showed just how good he is by defeating Andy Stiles who has been a top contender at 160 all year. Kyles 2-1 OT victory shows just how tough he really is. Kyle is 34-29 over the past two years and his success as a junior and senior is an inspiration to any underclassmen that may be struggling. Kyle has stayed at it for 4 years. He has worked hard. He has put in the time. He may be one of the most improved wrestlers from his freshman season to his senior season that Ki-Be has ever seen. It would be a fitting ending to his highschool career if he could walk out onto the Tacoma Dome floor as a participant this year.
Cody Roos is a pinning machine. Roos currently ranks 3rd on the Ki-Be all-time pinning percentage list. 13 of his 15 wins this year have been by pin. Cody will need to put mistakes behind him and wrestle like we all know that he can. If he does this, he should get that trip to state that he has been waiting for. Cody is 32-24 over the past two years and nearly went to state last year, but had to settle for state alternate. Cody has had some good matches against Jake Healy of Ephrata and could be able to turn the tide against him this post-season. First he will need to deal with Luis Escamilla of E.Valley (unless he goes to 189) and Rory Gangle of Naches. Roos will need to be on top of his game when he matches up with these two.
Justin Mack, Justin Rolland, Daniel Ayers and Kevin Hunter have all performed well at times this year. Each is capable of making it to regionals, but they will need to get some serious work done to move onto the Mat Classic. These four guys are moving in the right direction and each should be able to get the necessary training and technique to one day get to state. Can they make it this year? They will nee to pull off some upsets and wrestle smart and aggressively. This had happened before. Bryan Caraway came virtually out of nowhere two years ago to place 6th at state. Antonio Avalos of Grandview surprised everyone with his state run as a junior. Matt Owens of Ephrata nearly pinned eventual state champ Aramando Valadez of Toppenish. Owens also threw 2X state champion Ale DeLaPena to his back in the semifinals at regionals, Ale went on to win his 3rd state title. Can these guys pull off an upset, anything is possible in the wild and wacky post-season.