Colville Junior High School captured the District Middle School wrestling championship last Tuesday at Colville High School.
The Warriors, who crowned five district champions, edged Lakeside for the team title.
Riverside and Deer Park finished third and fourth. Kettle Falls, with only seven wrestlers in the meet, finished fifth.
After dominating Chewelah, Kettle Falls and Northwest Christian at home during the regular season, CJHS lost a close dual to Lakeside, 36-37.
Colville rebounded with an 84-3 win at home over Riverside and downed Medical Lake 63-24 before heading into the IEML tournament last week on the home mats as the underdog.
The three favorites were Deer Park (23 wrestlers), Lakeside (20) and Colville (19).
With the help of pin points and a strong semifinal round, the Warriors built a 46-point lead and managed to hang on with 252.5 points.
Lakeside finished second with 239 and DP was third with 229.
80 pounds, Slade Braun, 2nd; 87 pounds, T.J. Baun, 2nd; 92 pounds, Brandon Nichols, 1st; 96 pounds, Brayden Fluge, 2nd; 105 pounds, Dalton Donner, 3rd; 110 pounds, Maverick Walker, 2nd; 115 pounds, Thailer Morrison, 1st; 127 pounds, Brandon Stinson, 1st; 135 pounds, Noah Robbins, 1st; 145 pounds, Ryley Smith, 1st; 145 pounds, Andrew Taft, 2nd; 210 pounds, Chris Lindsay, 4th.
Leading the Kettle Falls Middle School contingent was district champion, Austin Olson. Finishing third were Trevor James, Damion Thoreson and Taylor Flesher. Wyatt Moss finished fourth and Casey Hamilton was fifth.
Kettle Falls coach Joe Kerns said that Hamilton, in particular, was in tough in his first round district match-up. Olson wrestled well “and was out of position a couple of times, but his determination, attitude and skill saw him through in true champion style.”
Kerns said that Flesher, Thoreson, James and Runkle all wrestled well.
“Taylor (Flesher) wrestled strong, but got caught in a cradle that he couldn’t break,” Kerns said. “He had to work his way back through the lower end with cradles of his own to capture third place.
“Taylor has been a true leader on and off the mat for us; he’s full of consideration for others.”
Runkle “had some good motion going on the mat, but he got caught out of position in front and went into the lower bracket to finish fifth. It was a pleasure to see his growth during the season.”
Kerns said that coaching James “hasn’t been easy on the heart. He often has an unorthodox approach and doubts himself…then he will listen and eventually may do what he is called to do. When he listens, and starts to believe, Trevor becomes a machine and he pins people. It has been a pleasure seeing him gain confidence and perform to his potential.”
Kerns said that Moss may have had the most exciting district matches of anyone.
“He came up short in his matches after being ahead (by eight points in a third round match)…but that’s what makes wrestling such a great sport.”
Kerns said that his talented, but small in numbers team experienced a good season.
“These were a great bunch of kids—mostly first-year wrestlers,” Kerns said. “We grew as individuals and as a team this season.”
Kerns, like a majority of wrestling coaches, believes in the dynamic between wrestling and football.
“In the coaches meeting before the tournament, the teams discussed how football is improved through participation in wrestling,” Kerns recalled. “It was pointed out that athletes can participate in all sports.”