Grizzlies fall to top-ranked Moses Lake

Bashyar Madera of Sunnyside wrestles against the Chiefs’ Lake’s Cooper McCullough Thursday at Moses Lake High School. McCullough pinned Madera in the third round.

Connor Vanderweyst/Columbia Basin Herald
Bashyar Madera of Sunnyside wrestles against the Chiefs’ Lake’s Cooper McCullough Thursday at Moses Lake High School. McCullough pinned Madera in the third round.



Sunnyside’s Diego Castaneda tries to prevent Moses Lake’s Hunter Cruz from escaping Thursday at Moses Lake High School. Castaneda outlasted Cruz, 5-2.

Facing the top 4A wrestling team in the state Thursday night, Sunnyside jumped out to an early lead but couldn’t hold on, falling 39-31 in a thrilling match at Moses Lake.

The Grizzlies, ranked No. 3 among state 4A teams, took an early 16-0 lead and later led by a 25-9 margin.

However, Moses Lake won five matches in a row to take the lead, and the Chiefs held on to take the biggest match of the season in the Columbia Basin Big Nine conference.

“All in all, we showed pretty well in some places and pretty weak in others,” Grizzlies head coach George Paulus said. “We’ve got to go back to the drawing board and improve on the things that went wrong.”

Sunnyside opened the contest with three straight wins in the lower weight classes. Samuel Guerrero won handily in the 106- pound class, and Jose Campos and Jacob Mendoza earned back-to-back pins at 113 and 120, respectively.

The hosts got back into the match with a contentious overtime score decision for Nicolas Hara over Elias Romero in the 126-pound battle.

But Josiah Rodriguez pinned Moses Lake’s Brian Mullin to take the momentum right back. The Chiefs got a pin of their own when Cooper McCullough took down Boshyar Madera in the third round, but defending state champion Diego Castaneda earned a 5-2 decision to extend the Grizzlies’ lead to 25-9.

Sunnyside’s fortunes quickly turned.

The Chiefs won consecutive decisions in the 152- and 160-pound matches, but Paulus pointed to the following duels as those that doomed the Grizzlies.

“It went bad at 170 and that sunk our ship,” he said.

In that battle, last year’s state title winner Hudson Mauseth earned the first of three consecutive pins for the Chiefs, defeating Carlos Ramirez in the third round.

Dylan Morris followed with a takedown of Logan Case at 182 pounds, and Daiman Vasquez pinned Daniel Huizar to give Moses Lake a 33-25 advantage.

The Grizzlies had one final win, with Jector Ramirez pinning Payton Castro to bring the score to 33-31, but Chandler Fluaitt defeated Jarod Perales in the heavyweight duel.

“It was a pretty good first performance of the year,” Paulus said. “It was just a pretty standard match against Moses Lake, hard fought, and now we try to figure things out.”

The Grizzlies won’t have much time to dwell on the defeat, as they head to Fife this weekend for the Larry Brown Invitational.

Sunnyside won the tournament last season, with Rodriguez taking an individual title which he will look to defend in the 132-pound weight class.


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