Ladders and pitfalls

Panthers and Papermakers fight for medals

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The Camas and Washougal high school wrestlers continued to climb ladders during the holidays.

Senior Papermakers Bryant Elliott and Talon Edmiston earned fourth-place medals at the Pacific Coast Championships Friday and Saturday, at Hudson’s Bay High School. Senior Max Grimes and freshman Rylan Thompson snagged seventh place, and junior Triston Groth grabbed eighth place.

Panthers Jesse Reagan, Garrett Duey, Urich Reyes and Taylor Leifsen finished in second place at the Washougal River Rumble Saturday. A.J. Christiansen and Tanner Klopman took third place.

Mountain View’s Manny Mendez pinned Elliott to win the 145-pound championship medal at the Best in the West tournament Dec. 20, in Pasco. The rivals wrestled for the fourth time this season Friday, at the Pacific Coast tournament.

Elliott went into the last round trailing 2-0. He escaped and took Mendez down to the mat for a 3-2 lead. Mendez escaped to tie the score. Elliott won a scramble for the next takedown, Mendez fought back up to his feet and the two went all out until time expired. Elliott hung on for a 5-4 victory.

“I got my revenge, but that was the only good thing that happened,” Elliott said. “Fourth felt like getting punched in the gut. I realize I have to start training harder. Use this as motivation.”

Elliott defeated Toppenish’s Felipe Arriaga 6-5 to advance to the semifinal round Saturday, where he lost to Blaine’s Caleb Frye. Elliott beat Canby’s Nick Strand 6-2, but lost to Arriaga in their rematch for third place.

Edmiston pinned Kelso’s Tyler McAnich and Marysville-Pilchuck’s Tim Barton in the first two rounds of the 195-pound bracket Friday. He also beat Cascade’s Hayes Vandetty 7-2 Saturday, but lost to Tumwater’s Sam Richards in the semifinals. After defeating Yelm’s Jayce Allred, Edmiston lost to Union’s Zach Berfanger in an overtime battle for third place.

“Fourth is not where I want to be, but it’s better than nothing,” Edmiston said. “I lost to two guys I beat last year. It’s disappointing to see that they have come along a lot further than I have.”

Edmiston joined Elliott in gaining a second-place medal for Camas at Best of the West.

“Pac Coast was tougher. There were multiple time state placers and champions there,” Elliott said. “You have to get through these tournaments if you want to win the big one.”

As seniors and veterans of these 32-man tournaments, Edmiston and Elliott expect to be wrestling for championship medals and winning them. Not falling short of consolation prizes.

“We both want to be the best,” Elliott said. “Fourth is not the best.”

“Not even close,” Edmiston added.

Grimes and Thompson each won three matches in a row after losing in the second round of the Pacific Coast tournament. Grimes beat Tumwater’s Joseph Morrissey 9-2 for seventh place at 113 pounds. Thompson defeated Skyline’s Nate Swanson 19-5 for seventh place at 126 pounds.

Groth gained victories in the first two rounds of the 285-pound bracket, before getting pinned in the quarterfinals. Groth pinned Woodinville’s Duke Clinch, before losing his last two matches and settling for eighth place.

Duey, Leifsen, Reagan, and Reyes each won their first three matches to earn the opportunity to wrestle in the championship round of the Washougal River Rumble Saturday. None of them would get their hand raised in the finals. Christiansen and Klopman both fought through four matches to earn third place.

Washougal captains Reagan, Tanner Baldwin and Bailey Burk have been sidelined by injuries. Zach Oster and Roger Polanco are also out of action.

As one of the active seniors in the lineup, Duey continues to push the younger Panthers in practice.

“I tell them to keep working hard every day so we can win those third rounds,” Duey said. “Take things one team and one tournament at a time, and get healthy. Plug those holes.”