Colville High wrestlers fourth in strong Deer Park Invite field

Indians will fillevery weightColville High exhibited some early-season strength last Saturday at the always tough Deer Park Invitational wrestling meet. The Indians, who dominated the Northeast A League the past two seasons before moving up to the Class 2A Great Northern League for the two-year enrollment cycle, served notice last Saturday that they will be a power to contend with in the GNL. With tournament champion Chandler Knight leading the way with a championship at 182, Colville finished fourth in the tournament field with 137 points.Oregon 5A powerhouse Hermiston, back in the tournament field, won the invite with 205 points. Mt. Spokane of the 4A Greater Spokane was second with 168 points. Fellow GSL rival Mead was third (144 points).Indians finish ahead of longtime 1A power OrtingOrting, the class of 1A for several seasons, has also moved up to 2A this cycle. OHS finished fifth behind Colville (129.5 points).Other finishes: 6. North Central, 125. 7. Deer Park, 114. 8. East Valley, 112. 9. Lewis & Clark, 88. 10. Rogers, 86. 11. Shadle Park, 77.5. 12. Lakeside, 76.5. 13. Ferris, 60. 14. Chewelah, 46. 15. Hanford, 38. 16. Riverside, 21.DP INVITE RECAPKnight, this week’s Colville Benchwarmer’s CHS Athlete of the Week, led the Indians at Deer Park. Tanner Smith was second at 160 and Jesse Morrison finished third at 126.Austin Donough was fifth at 113 pounds and Ian Cox was fourth at 138. Trenton Welton finished sixth at 145 and Hunter LeCaire was fifth at 170. Colville High head coach Randy Cloke was very pleased with the way his mostly young team wrestled at Deer Park.“Two very strong programs, Hermiston and Orting, hadn’t been in the (Deer Park) field for awhile…the field definitely got tougher and we finished higher,” Cloke said. “I was tickled. I thought that for this early in the year that we wrestled very well. A close match here and there that we win…we weren’t far out of second place.“We are learning to compete and learning to wrestle as a team. It’s coming.”Certainly, this is the deepest and likely most talented team Cloke has had in his tenure at CHS. For the first time, there will be no open weights in matches this winter. In the season-opening Lakeside Take-Down Tournament last Thursday at Nine Mile Falls, Colville got four wrestlers in the finals. As expected, Knight won at 182. Brandon Riley (106) and Morrison (120) also won. Smith was second at 160. AT A GLANCEOnce again, the Indians are particularly strong at the lower and middle weights, although with two-time state runner-up Knight dominating at 182, CHS has some clout in the upper weights. 106—Sophomores Brandon Riley and Alex Linn.113—Sophomore Austin Donough.120—Sophomores Devin Eslick and Kieon Mugaas.126—Junior state placer Jesse Morrison.132—Sophomore Tyler Ward and freshman Brandon Stinson.138—Sophomore Ben Knight and fellow sophomores Ian Cox (transfer from Chewelah), Grady Nelson and Duncan Maben.145—Junior Trenton Welton finished fourth in the State 1A Tournament last February. In addition, there are juniors James Raines, Nathaniel Blanchard and sophomore Aaron Buckley.152—Freshmen Ryley Smith and Noah Robbins.160—Senior returning state placer Tanner Smith (two-time district champion) and Joey Schweitzer (soph).170—Senior Hunter LeCaire; junior Frank Stinson; Colin Snyder, Vlad Kruz and Ilya Boot.182—Senior Chandler Knight and sophomore Taylor Beeman.195—Junior Brock VanQuekelberg (may be the most improved CHS wrestler in the room, at least at this juncture).220—Keegan Somers, a junior transfer from Eastmont (Wenatchee). Heavyweight—The Indians will fill here with two newcomers to the program—sophomores Jedidiah Keating and Forest Green.OUTLOOK“Top to bottom, this is the strongest team I’ve had at Colville,” Cloke said, adding that the 2A division is certainly no picnic with the likes of 2A power Deer Park.“Our district is just a meat-grinder,” Cloke said, adding that Deer Park is certainly still the strength in the GNL. “Everybody is still chasing Deer Park.”Look for the Indians to compete well in GNL duals this winter. A runner-up finish behind Deer Park certainly isn’t out of the question. And if all those sophomores progress like Cloke and his staff think they will, the Stags could be looking in their rear view mirror up Highway 395 toward Colville.Stay tuned.“We are certainly committed to what we are doing…we’re working to get better.”THIS WEEKColville will be in the field at the Inland Empire Classic Friday and Saturday at Central Valley High School (Spokane Valley).