TACOMA – Tonasket sophomore Jorge Juarez got his first shot at a state title on Saturday, Feb. 22.
Unfortunately for the 132-pounder, that shot came against three-time state champion Josh Crager.
Make that: four-time state champion Josh Crager.
Juarez battled into the third period, giving up three takedowns and a three-point nearfall while scoring a pair of escapes, but had little luck getting anything through Crager’s defenses.
Finally, Crager caught him for good midway through the third period, finishing Juarez off with a pin and joining an elite group of wrestlers who won four state titles.
Juarez advanced to the championship defeating Warden’s Ramses Rodelo in the semifinals Saturday morning (see below).
Juarez was the only Tonasket or Oroville wrestler to reach the championship bout.
John Rawley (195) came closest of the others, losing his semifinal contest in overtime but winning his third place match, also in overtime.
Collin Aitcheson (126) placed sixth.
Oroville’s Jordan Smith (120) was the Hornets’ lone medalist.
North Central Washington boasted its share of state champions, however.
In Class 1A, Caribou Trail League champions included Antonio Melendez (160) of Quincy and Asa Schwartz (220) of Chelan (Schwartz’s second straight title).
In Class 1B/2B, area champions included Trent Skelton (120), Merrit Fink (138), Emmet Fink (152) and Milo Holston (160, who gave Liberty Bell a 4-for-4 championship sweep that cemented their second straight team state title; Kodie Horn (145) of Lake Roosevelt, which finished fourth; and Blake Phillips (170) and Lucas Rittel (182) of Republic.
Team Scoring – Class 1A
1. Blaine 110.5; 2. Forks 109; 3. Warden 92; 10. Quincy 60; 12. Chelan 59; 17. Tonasket 46.5; 23. Omak 27.5; 31. Cascade 16; 32. Okanogan 15; 34. Cashmere 13; 40. Brewster 4; 43.
Team Scoring – Class 1B/2B
1. Liberty Bell 103; 2. Kittitas 58; 3. Darrington 60; 5. Lake Roosevelt 58; 8. Republic 49; 15. Pateros 25; 18. Oroville 23.
Medal winners – Caribou Trail League Class 1A
Tonasket – Collin Aitcheson (120, 6th place); Jorge Juarez (132, 2nd place); John Rawley (195, 3rd place).
Brewster – Raf Varelas (138, 8th place).
Cascade – Michael Sorensen (285, 5th place).
Cashmere – Ethan Visser (138, 7th place); Jacob James (170, 7th place).
Chelan – Ivan Reyes (120, 7th place); Julio Vera (126, 4th place); Juan Garcia (152, 4th place); Asa Schwartz (220, State Champion).
Okanogan – Anthony Payton (106, 4th place).
Omak – Alex Aguilar (152, 2nd place); Caleb Riggle (160, 6th place).
Quincy – Victor Salgado (106, 7th place); John Lindquist (138, 6th place); Isiais Jimenez (145, 2nd place); Antonio Melendez (160, State Champion).
Medal winners – NCW area Class 1B/2B
Oroville – Jordan Smith (120, 3rd place).
Liberty Bell – Trent Skelton (120, State Champion); Meritt Fink (138, State Champion); Jacob McMillan (145, 3rd place); Emmett Fink (152, State Champion); Milo Holston (160, State Champion);
Lake Roosevelt – James Monaghan (120, 2nd place); Kodie Horn (145, State Champion).
Pateros – Julio Espino (113, 3rd place); Carlos Cruz (138, 3rd place).
Republic – Blake Phillips (170, State Champion); Lucas Rittel (182, State Champion).
Saturday morning highlights
TACOMA Tonasket’s Jorge Juarez led the local contingent of wrestlers as he defeated Warden’s Ramses Rodelo in his Class 1A state semifinal match to reach this evening’s state championship match.
His reward? The Tiger sophomore gets his shot at Cascade Christian’s Josh Crager, who has won three straight state titles and is shooting to join a very select club of four-time champions.
Juarez (132 pounds) led most of his 5-1 victory over Rodelo. Juarez pinned Rodelo in January to win the Tonasket Apple Pie Invitational, but had to work the full six minutes this time around. He led just 2-1 heading into the final two minutes.
The championship matches begin at 5:00 p.m.
Other Tonasket highlights:
John Rawley (195) came away with a third place medal after losing a heartbreaker in the semifinals against Vashon Island’s Preston Morris.
Rawley trailed 3-0 for most of the match, but got his first point after Morris was penalized for an illegal hold with 1:10 left then scored a reverse to tie it up and forced overtime. Morris scored a quick takedown in the fourth period to end Rawley’s championship dreams.
Rawley came back to lay a 15-0 technical fall on Nathan Cloud of Woodland to make it to the third place match. Rawley lost to Cloud during last year’s state tournament.
That set up a match for third place with regional rival Justin Thompson of Freeman.
This time Rawley gave up a 2-0 lead late in the match, again to force overtime. Thompson got the drop on him to start the extra session, but Rawley spun out of trouble to score the match-winning takedown and a 4-2 win.
Collin Aitcheson (120) finished sixth, losing his final two matches, in a tough weekend for the senior.
Aitcheson won his first match of the morning, hanging on to edge Chelan’s Ivan Reyes 9-8. But that was where his luck run out after Seth Garcia of Kiona-Benton scored a late takedown to tie their match at 5-5, then scored again in overtime to send Aitcheson to the fifth and sixth place match.
There, Jesse Velez of Hoquiam pinned Aitcheson in the second period.
Jordan Smith (120) pulled out a third place finish by winning both of his matches Saturday.
Smith, who was beaten in Friday’s semifinals, came back Saturday morning to pin Joe Lewis of South Bend in the third period while leading 10-1.
That set him up for a consolation final matchup with Joe Peterson of Wilbur-Creston/Keller, and Smith ended that matchup even more quickly, scoring a first period stick to claim the third place medal. Smith was the lone Hornet with state tournament experience.
Taylor Robinson (182) and Lukas Mieirs (195) each needed consolation round wins to start the day in order to reach the third and fourth place match, but both suffered second round pins to end their chances.
Caribou Trail League
Other Caribou Trail League wrestlers competing for 1A state titles tonight include Jiminez of Quincy (145), Alex Aguilar of Omak (152), Melendez of Quincy (160) and Asa Schwarz of Chelan.
Other league medal winners will be included in tonight’s final wrap, though brackets can be viewed at wiaa.com
Liberty Bell has already wrapped up the team state title, defending their 2013 championship.
Other Class 1B/2B wrestlers in state title matches from North Central Washington include Trent Skelton (113), Merrit Fink (138), Emmet Fink (152) and Milo Holston (160) of Liberty Bell; James Monaghan (113) and Kodie Horn (145) of Lake Roosevelt; and Blake Phillips (170) and Lucas Rittel (182) of Republic.
Other medal-winners will be included in tonight’s final summary.