On the final night of Mid-Columbia Conference wrestling, the Hermiston Bulldogs put on a show for their fans.
The Bulldogs (3-5 MCC) won their first six matches, and took advantage of four forfeits in the upper weights to cruise to a 61-18 victory Thursday night over visiting Walla Walla (1-7).
“It’s fun to finish our league duals with a win,” Hermiston coach Kyle Larson said. “Not only did we win, but in a lot of those matches we got bonus points. We like it when we push the pace and try to pin a guy when it is 14-0 instead of getting a technical fall.”
Blue Devils coach Jacob Butenhoff did not like giving away four matches. He said he simply does not have the men to fill the weight classes.
“We are in that rebuilding phase,” he said. “We are struggling to fill the lineup. The guys we do have get out and scrap. We are young and green, and don’t realize we are in trouble until it’s too late.”
It was senior night for the Bulldogs, who got wins from Gage Shipley at 132 and Isaac Lambert at 120. Om Pakdee was not as fortunate, but the exchange student from Thailand still had a smile on his face after the match.
“I’d rather him go out and fight than forfeit a match,” Larson said. “We have thrown him to the wolves a few times. He’s a great kid. He’s happy to be here. I wish some of our others guys had his attitude.”
Hermiston Zayne Helfer started the match with a first-round pin of John-Mark Whitaker at 106. Adrian Delgado (113) followed with a 5-2 decision over Ruben Lozano, and Lambert pinned Bernardo Bautista in 3:10 to give the Bulldogs a 15-0 lead.
“He put up a good fight,” Lambert said of his opponent. “But I wanted it more. This was our last night, and everybody was excited. It’s fun to win your last dual your senior year.”
Hunter Dyer (126) pinned Tanner Bollinger in 57 seconds, and Shipley needed 4:36 to pin Camrin Henzel.
“It felt really good to come out and win my last (dual) match,” Shipley said. “I gave it my all.”
Jordan Franklin picked up a 17-2 technical fall at 138 to give the Bulldogs a 32-0 lead.
The Blue Devils recorded their first win at 145 as Tanner Siller pinned Brock Remmer in 2:46. Alejandro Mata followed with a second-round pin of Pakdee at 152 before Trevor Wagner earned a 16-0 technical fall over Jesse Easley at 160.
Walls Walla forfeited at 170, 182, 195 and 220, giving Hermiston a 61-12 lead.
In the battle of the big men, Wa-Hi’s Jerry Corona pinned Dustyn Coughlin in the second round.
Hermiston will host the District 8 championships Feb. 1-2. The top four in each weight class will advance to the Regional Tournament Feb. 9 in Yelm. Action will begin at 3:30 p.m. Friday, and at 10 a.m. Saturday.
“It’s fun to have it at home,” Larson said. “Hopefully we come out and put on a show. We have all the advantages of sleeping in our own beds and such. It should be real comfortable for us.”