In successive weeks, the Indians have captured the Northeast A League championship, the District 7 1A title and last Saturdayâs regional. Qualifying for Mat Classic are champions Chandler Knight, Trenton Welton and Jesse Morrison; second place finisher Tyler Ward; third place finishers Ben Knight, Hunter LeCaire and Colyn Lindback; fourth place finishers Grady Nelson, Tanner Smith, Aaron Buckley and Julio Valencia. Photo courtesy of Brian Henderson.
Indians will send a record 11 to âClassicâ
Colville High will send a record 11 wrestlers to Friday and Saturdayâs state all-divisions Mat Classic XXIV spectacular in the Tacoma Dome after annexing the East Region 1A championship last Saturday at Colville High School.
In front of a packed house in the CHS gymnasium, the Indians were able to crown three champions among the Northeast A and Caribou-Trail League teams in attendance: Jesse Morrison (120), Trenton Welton (126) and Chandler Knight (170).
Colville amassed 201 points to outdistance second place Chelan (191) and fellow NEA rival Riverside (171).
The regional in Colvilleâs house marked the first time the Indians have hosted a regional. Judging by how well run the tournament was from the mat to the hospitality room and everywhere in between, it wonât be the last time.
Look for Colville to host a regional againâsooner than later.
âWhat a great event for Colville,â CHS head coach Randy Cloke said after it was all over. âIt was a great tournament. Colville did itself proudâŠthe place was rocking on Saturday.
âWe were hoping for a great tournament and we got it. It was just a great atmosphere.â
Advancing to Mat Classic this week, where the Indians will be one of the favorites and a solid pick to finish in the tournamentâs top five, are champions Knight, Welton and Morrison; second place finisher, Tyler Ward (106); third place finishers Ben Knight (113), Hunter LeCaire (182), and Colyn Lindback (138); fourth place finishers Grady Nelson (132), Tanner Smith (145), Aaron Buckley (120) and Julio Valencia (152).
âWe wrestled well,â Cloke said. âJosh (Hamilton) and Skyler (Donner) had tough daysâwe had legitimate shots there (to get those two to Mat Classic). If they had made it, the day would have been perfect.
âBut they just werenât in it that dayâŠand Saturday was the day we qualified.â
Still, 11 qualifiers to a Mat Classic is a CHS record. The Indians have never qualified more than eight wrestlers to a previous Mat Classic.
Cloke is proud of a program that has been resurrected, thanks to a strong youth feeder program that is paying major dividends. The CHS wrestlers who scored points on Saturday are products of programs like the Basement Boys, Colville Mat Rats and the Colville Junior High School wrestling program.
The fruits of some hard work all around
âItâs a result of the kids working hard all year in the room,â Cloke said. âKids like Colyn Lindback, Aaron Buckley, Julio (Valencia)...Hunter (LeCaire)âŠthey are all going to state because of their hearts. They didnât want to be denied and they didnât want it to be over.â
Scoring: 1. Colville, 201. 2. Chelan, 191. 3. Riverside, 171. 4. Lakeside, 135. 5. Omak, 119. 6. Chewelah, 102. 7. Tonasket, 94. 8. Freeman, 81.5. 9. Cashmere, 63. 10. Cascade & Okanogan. 12. Newport, 0.
Cloke was effusive in his praise of tournament director Kevin Knight, former CHS coach and Basement Boysâ coach Monty Jones and a big crew that put on what some veteran wrestling officials called the best regional tournament theyâve ever been part of.
âWe just have a great wrestling community here,â Cloke said. âIt was great to be part of something like that. The support was fantasticâŠit was just a very well run tournament.
âIt was a great community effortâŠmany hands made light workâŠand we had fun doing it.â
The Indians will certainly score points with 11 wrestlers advancing to Tacoma. But not getting standouts Hamilton and Donner to the big dance hurts.
âI had us in the top three,â Cloke said of his Mat Classic projections for the Indians. âBut that was with Josh and Donner. We traded two for two there, but Josh and Skyler had the ability to score points. Weâll just have to see.
âWeâll have to continue to wrestle wellâŠwe need a little help. Is a (championship) a realistic possibility? Probably not. But I have never walked away from a fight. We still have that fourth goal out there (the first three have been attained: league, district and regional titles). Weâll see what happens.â
Chandler Knight, a former Nevada state standout, and Welton would seem to have the best shots for Colville of doing some serious bracket damage under the big wooden roof of the dome. Ditto for Morrison, a runner-up at Mat Classic last winter.
âChandler has as good a shot as anyone and Trenton is on a mission,â Cloke said. âHeâs very dangerous. And Jesse is wrestling better than he has wrestled all season long. Heâs been working his tail off in the room and has a little swagger back. Tyler Ward is wrestling as tough as any 106-pounder in the state.
We just need to wrestle to our potential and maximize our opportunities.â
Cloke said heâs very proud to be accompanying âsome great human beings and young peopleâ to Tacoma this week.
106âTyler Ward vs. Michael Kippling of Nooksack (approximately 10 a.m. Friday). 113âBen Knight vs. Ricky Almaguer, Granger (10:20 a.m. Friday). 120âJesse Morrison vs. Daniel Percifield, Columbia-Burbank (10:30 a.m.). Aaron Buckley vs. Andres Tereza, Highland (10:30 a.m.). 132âGrady Nelson vs. Cutter Grahn, Forks (11:10 a.m.). 138âTrenton Welton vs. Dakota Chinnick, Elma (11:30 a.m.) and Colyn Lindback vs. Jacob Schneider, Stevenson (11:20 a.m.). 145âTanner Smith vs. Karl Bell, Stevenson (11:40 a.m.). 152âJulio Valencia vs. Levi Godinho, Castle Rock (noon). 170âChandler Knight vs. Justin Roberts, Montesano (12:20 p.m.). 182âHunter LeCaire vs. Koby Elf, Castle Rock (12:40 p.m.).
106âUlland (Lake) d. Ward, 16-9.
120âMorrison p. Covington (Omak).
138âWelton d. Jacob ( Cash), 11-4.
170âKnight md. Sim (Cash), 15-5.
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113âKnight p. Reyes (Chew).
120âAtcheson (Ton) p. Buckley.
132âCox (Chew) d. Nelson, 8-4.
138âLindback p. Allen (Riv).
145âGarcia (Chew) p. Smith.
152âConley (Riv) d. Valencia, 6-2.
182âLeCaire d. Conklin (Riv), 9-3.