SPOKANE — Three Walla Walla High School boys, with two qualifying for the state championships, placed here at Mead High School Saturday in 4A Regional boys wrestling action.
Wa-Hi's 160 pounder, Jake Humphrey led the Blue Devils. Humphrey pinned his first opponent, Ryan Morrill out of Union, in 1:03. Humphrey made quick work of Gonzaga Prep's Mason Brock. Humphrey pinned Brock in :15.
In the 160 semifinal, Humphrey lost to Camas' Gideon Malychewski, 8-4. The lost sent Humphrey into a battle for third.
Humphrey bounced back from the loss to Malychewski with a major decision victory over University's Connor Larsen. Humphrey took third with an 11-2 decision.
Wa-Hi's Ruben Lozano earned a fourth place finish in the 113 category. Lozano started with a win by fall before being dropped into the consolation round in a close 5-4 loss to University's Tyler Walker.
Lozano won his first two consolation matches with a a decision and a major decision to earn a shot at third place.
Israel Gonzalez from Heritage took third with a 9-1 win, and Lozano settled for fourth.
Wa-Hi's other 113 pounder, Mateo Caso, went 3-3 and finished sixth. Caso split his first two matches, winning by fall and losing a decision, and dropping into the consolation round.
Caso responded with a win by fall, a win by decision, and battled into the 113 semifinal.
Gonzalez pinned Caso to drop him into a battle for fifth. Chiawana's Davian Martinez took fifth with a fall over Caso.
The top four places qualify for Matt Classic XXXII in Tacoma beginning Friday. Humphrey with his 160 third place effort and Lozano with his fourth at 113, punched state tickets for the Blue Devils.
"This tournament is incredibly tough to advance through," Blue Devil coach Jacob Butenhoff said. "This super-region combines three of the toughest districts and five of the top 10 teams in the state.
"Both (Humphrey and Lozano) have continued to prove that they are two of the best wrestlers in the state," Butenhoff continued. "Jake (Humphrey) has no fear. He made the choice to compete in arguably the toughest weight class (160) in the state. His heavy hands and power steps lead to big takedowns and pins. He is an absolute blast to coach.
"Ruben (Lozano) is an animal," Butenhoff continued. "His gas tank and drive absolutely wears teams down. He fights through difficult situations and looks to score from anywhere on the mat. His work ethic and leadership have been a huge part of our program."
Wa-Hi had Izake Sanchez, 106, Carmin Henzel at 126, Alejandro Mata at 145, and Erick Enriquez at 285 qualify for the regional tournament. Sanchez went 0-2, Henzel went 1-2, Mata went 0-2, and Enriquez finished 1-2. Unfortunately, no one qualified to join Humphrey and Lozano at the state championships.
"Freshman Mateo (Caso) was one match away from clawing his way into a top four finalists," Butenhoff said. "His attitude and toughness have allowed him to develop as a fine wrestler. All our boys battled this weekend."