KITTITAS – Nick Perez earned his fourth straight state finals berth and Alex Alvarez will wrestle for the first time at the Tacoma Dome this year to highlight Oroville’s day of wrestling at the Class B Eastern Regional on Saturday, Feb. 11.
Perez (145 pounds) finished fourth in his weight class, though had a better day than that suggests, and Alvarez won several tight matches to place third at 160.
The top five in each weight class clinched state berths, with one alternate per weight also getting to make the trip. Alvarez was an alternate last year.
Perez, a two-time defending state runner-up, lost his only on-mat bout to two-time state champion Kyle Kirkendall of Republic, 7-2 in their semifinal match. Perez, who earned a pin in his opening-round match, went on to pin Northwest Christian’s Walter Harris in the consolation semifinals to clinch a spot at state, then forfeited his third-place match in what coach Chuch Ricevuto said was a caution to prevent injury.
Perez missed much of the season thanks to a football injury.
Alvarez beat Cody Payne from Almira/Coulee-Hartline 4-3 in his first match of the day before getting pinned by eventual runner-up Wyatt Jenkins of Pomeroy. He came back to edge Selkirk’s Michael Haskins 5-4 to move into the third place match, which Alvarez won by injury default.
“It was his third ‘heart attack’ victory over Haskins,” Ricevuto said. “It could not have come at a better time — a win in the consolation semifinals that guaranteed a trip to the Dome.”
Senior Alex Kelly (132) and junior Michael Ripley (120) had their seasons end in most difficult fashion.
Kelly, who aggravated a chronic back injury during last week’s district tournament, was still dealing with that injury. Kelly was pinned in his first round match and withdrew from the tournament.
Ripley was leading his match with the eventual fifth-place finisher 5-2 when he suffered a bloody nose that couldn’t be controlled and was forced to forfeit the match. Ripley bounced back to finish seventh.
Leo Curiel (120) opened his day with a pin but lost his next two matches, including a season-ender to teammate Ripley. Eric Herrera had one win (a pin) and finished eighth while Eddie Ocampo (138) lost his two matches.
Wrestling at the Tacoma Dome begins at 10:00 a.m., Friday, Feb. 17, with doors opening at 8:45.