District Review/ Regional Preview
The Bears stayed with Othello and Connell for most of the district meet. At one point in the tournament only 9.5 points separated number one Othello, number 2 Connell and the Bears at number 3. The Bears came away with 5 district champions; Brandon Ashley, Junior Gonzalez, Ramon DelAngel, Josh Corke and Cody Roos. The 5 champions were the most ever for Ki-Be at districts. in 1999 and 1998 the Bears had 4 champions.
Brandon Ashley started the finals off with a stunning 12-6 victory over Romi Gonzalez. It was close going early on in the match with Romi leading 3-2 until Brandon slapped a head and arm on him at the edge of the mat for an 6-3 lead. Romi came back with a takedown, Ashley escaped to make it 7-5. Brandon then threw Romi to his back again for the 5 point clincher. This was the fourth time Brandon had wrestled Romi this year, the previous three had ended in pins for Romi. This time Brandon stayed off his back and showed that he could wrestle, and beat, the best.
The 103 wrestlers in the north must be wondering what they are going to have to do against Brandon this weekend. Kevin Mitchell of Tonasket came out on top of the scramble in Chelan last weekend. Brandon will again have his work cut out for him next weekend. Beating Romi once might be considered a fluke by some. The complete domination that was witnessed by the crowd at the Othello gym would probably agree that it was no fluke. Brandon will need to use the momentum he built against Romi in the finals to propel him to the regional championship.
Junior Gonzalez helped get the Bears championship roll pick up steam as he wrestled a tough match against JD Gomez of Othello. Despite the home crowd cheering JD's every move, Junior went about business as usual. While Brandon Ashley wrestles with an unbridled enthusiasm, Junior is more business-like in his approach. Junior waits patiently while his opponent tries to score , and then he attacks the instant an opening appears. Troy Johnson of Naches found this out as he was doing just fine against Junior in the semi's. Late in the first round with the score close, Junior grabbed a single leg, stuck in a half and put Johnson on his back and the match was basically over from then on. Gomez put up a good fight in the finals but still came away with a 14-7 loss. Junior does not weardown and any opponent who is expecting him to, is in for a long match. Matt Dillin of Ephrata will be waiting for Junior in Connell. The North 130's may give Junior more trouble than the South 130's, but Junior has done a lot of maturing as a wrestler this year. Dillin may be in for a surprise.
Ramon DelAngel avenged his Grandview Winter Classic loss to Adam Logozzo with an 8-6 victory. Ramon got into the finals by defeating Chris O'Brine of Naches. Ramon used a bear hug to take the steam out of O'Brine on his way to an 18-5 win. In the finals, Ramon was wrestling at the same time as Josh Corke, so the Ki-Be fans had to yell twice as loud. Both Ramon's match and Josh's match with McCourtie were close. Next week, Ramon may get his chance to wrestle State Champion Derek Williams of Tonasket. He will need to avenge another loss on the way however. Brandon Craven defeated Ramon 14-12 at the Ki-Be Invite in mid-December. Ramon was just starting his senior year then. He is a different wrestler now.
27-0!!! Will Josh lose this year? If he doesn't, then we will be calling him State Champion Josh Corke come February 16. Jake Streich of Quincy came out on top in the North District, which just means that he won't have to get beat up by Corke unless he reaches the finals. Josh has every intention of making the finals at regionals. He seemed to be playing with McCourtie in the district finals, winning just 3-0. McCourtie was unable to mount any serious threat to Josh. The leg ride has been a valuable weapon for Corke. He has been able to ride opponents at length while on top. This will be a great weapon at state. One point could be the difference between being a state champion or not. Josh's leg ride could take away that one escape point that an opponent might otherwise get. Regionals is next and I seriously doubt that Josh is looking past anyone, considering what happened to him last year.
Cody Roos picked a great time to pick up his first career tournament title. Roos had an inspired semi win over Rory Gangle. The final score was 9-6 but Gangle had to mount a late comeback to make it that close. In the finals, Cody led all the way against Escamilla. He was called for stalling at the end of the match and that tied the score at 6-6. Coach Hill exclaimed to Roos that he needed to get the takedown in the overtime period. Roos went out and took charge of Escamilla and got the winning takedown. Cody's old friend Jake Healy took first at the North Districts. Healy has defeated Cody twice this year. One of those times was in the finals of the Ki-Be Invite. Roos wrestled extremely well on saturday, making very few mistakes and dominating his opponents early. If he keeps up that kind of performance at regionals, then he will be on his way to the Tacoma Dome.
Josh Corriell had probably the toughest final of the night. For the second time this year he faced Jimmy Orozco. The first time the two met, Orozco won 6-5. This time the outcome would be decided in two overtimes. Neither wrestler was able to score in the first period and at the end of regulation each wrestler had only an escape to show for their efforts. Again in the first overtime period, neither wrestler was able to get the takedown for the win. Orozco won the choice and chose down. Josh then tried to hold Orozco for 30 seconds for the win. Orozco stood up immediately, Corriell tried to grab a leg and keep the pressure on Orozco. The ref decided that Orozco had gotten away from Josh as they went out of bounds and awarded the escape and the match to Orozco. Colby Bruehl and Chris Bacon will try and spoil Orozco - Corriell III at regionals. Bruehl won the North title and would get first shot at Corriell in the semi's. Josh has shown this year that he has stepped up to the next level. Orozco may have won the first two matches but there is still plenty of wrestling left.
All of Tony Chapin's matches ended in pins. Unfortunately on of those was a pin by Brad Prather on Tony Chapin. Tony doesn't need to feel alone though, Prather has been doing that to everyone this year, just ask Bryan Caraway. Tony did come through with 3 pins of his own to place third. He wasted little time in pinning Kyle Prescott of Naches once he dropped to the consolation round. His third pin came against Jesus Olascon of Othello in the third place match. If Tony wants to grab one of the spots for state he will need another performance like this. He most likely will be batteling Cody Smithson, Garrett Dart, Jeff Smith and Curtis Shiles, along with Olascon and Prescott for the final three spots. Prather and Caraway should be going for 1st and 2nd again, provided that Caraway has recovered from his painful district final with Prather.
The Bears have 5 other wrestlers who will be making the trip to regionals. Kyle Nickerson placed 5th and will be making his second trip. Kyle lost to Vito Cantu of Toppenish in the quarterfinals, a match he probably should have won. He got caught in a couple head and arms and got to far behind early. He will need to stay away from this kind of mistake in order to come through with a state spot. Justin Rolland and Kevin Hunter also placed 5th. All three of these wrestlers went 2-2 on the day. All three won both of their matches by pin. All three pinned the same guy in their weightclass twice. In otherwords, they only beat one guy. They will have to beat a bunch of guys next week to advance to state. Bryce Livesey and Ryan Phipps fought hard to tak 6th at district and will get some needed experience at regionals.
To all the other Ki-Be wrestlers whose season ended last weekend, you had a fine season. Ryan Corke improved this year and is definetly a fighter on the mat. Jerry Haug and Justin Mack and Daniel Ayers will be back at it next year. Elizabeth Goeke had one last hurrah at districts and will be graduating.
The Bears have an excellent chance of taking at least 7 wrestlers to state this year. That would tie the Bears record for most wrestlers sent to state. See you at Connell.