PASCO — Two of the top wrestling teams in the state took the mat Thursday, Jan. 12, and it came down to the last match of the night to decide the winner.
Hermiston freshman Hayden Larson, and Chiawana freshman Tate Cissne battled at 152 pounds, with Cissne taking an early lead and holding on for a 7-3 decision, giving the Riverhawks a 35-32 Mid-Columbia Conference victory over the Bulldogs.
Cissne, who has been injured, was cleared earlier Thursday to return to the mat.
“That was fun,” Hermiston coach Kyle Larson said. “Fourteen matches, and it comes down to two freshmen to win a dual meet. When you go into someone else’s house, you have to out wrestle them.”
The loss dropped the Bulldogs to 4-1 in the MCC standings.
Hermiston led 32-23 after Jeshaiah Garza pinned Chiawana’s Marvin Aviles in the second round at 132 pounds.
The Riverhawks came back to tie the score when Daeton Johnson pinned Jaysen Rodriguez at 138 pounds, and Zachariah Delgado earned a 9-6 decision over Daniel Garza at 145.
“You can’t be losing to guys you shouldn’t be losing to,” Larson said of Garza’s match. "You have to win those ones.”
Chiawana’s final two matches were won by freshmen to secure the win.
“It’s nice to see our freshmen step up and get the job done,” Chiawana coach Manuel Plata said. "We have a lot of respect for Hermiston. I was a nervous wreck coming in today. I know how good Hermiston is.”
The match started at 160 pounds, where Chiawana’s Mason Tovar pinned Ami Tuia in 1:10, but the Bulldogs would win the next four matches to take a 19-6 lead.
At 170, Ben Larson pinned Isaiah Murillo in 1:20, followed by Tama Tuia, who pinned Pablo Lara in 1:40. Jaxson Gribskov kept the party going with an 11-2 major decision over Luis Ramirez at 195, and Wesley Leathers picked up a 10-5 decision over Landon Bolson at 220.
The 285-pound match put two of the state’s top big men on the mat in Hermiston’s Siu Sepeni and Chiawana’s Lane Hedrick.
Sepeni, ranked No. 1 at the 3A level, fell behind Hedrick 2-1 after the second round. Hedrick, ranked No. 4 in the 4A ranks, used a reversal and 2-point near fall to take a 6-1 lead in the third. Sepeni maneuvered a reversal late in the round, but failed to earn any back points in falling 6-3.
The Riverhawks found success in the lighter weights, winning at 106, 113 and 120 to take a 23-19 lead over the Bulldogs.
Aiden Favorite put the Bulldogs back out front with a pin of Victor Luna at 126.
At 132 pounds, the Chiawana bench was assessed an unsportsmanlike penalty, awarding Hermiston one team point, giving it a 26-23 lead. The Bulldogs got a pin from Jeshaiah Garza for a 32-23 lead.
The Bulldogs will compete in the Ellensburg Tournament on Saturday.
HERMISTON 54, CHIAWANA 30 — The Bulldogs won the first six matches to help run their Mid-Columbia Conference record to 5-0 with a road win over the Riverhawks.
“We had our moments,” Hermiston coach Al Davis said. “Having a hot start helps when it comes to duals. The other team has to wrestle from behind.”
Starting at 155 pounds, Hermiston’s Laura Meyers pinned Monica Mendoza in the first round, followed by Jaydan McKim pinning Zoe Almaguer in 1:05 at 170.
Jorgia McKim won by fall at 190, the Bulldogs picked up a forfeit at 235, and Ayden Foreman pinned Makayla Trevino at 100 pounds.
Brooklynn Day pinned Kendra Snyder at 105 to give the Bulldogs a 36-0 lead.
Chiawana then won the next four matches to pull within 36-24, but Desirae Juarez sealed the win for Hermiston with a pin of Uridia Garcia at 130.
The Bulldogs won two of the final three matches. Chiawana’s Alanna Haney, last year’s state champ at 135 pounds, won by fall at 140.
“I think we have some girls who could make some noise,” Davis said. “We are a team that gets more confidence every day.”
Hermiston will wrestle at the Davis Invite on Saturday.