By Mike Maltais
The Liberty Bell High School varsity wrestling team will send 11 grapplers to the regional matches in Kittitas on Friday and Saturday (Feb. 14-15), following two days of district eliminations at Spokane last weekend.
The Mountain Lions captured four firsts, three thirds, two fourths, and two sixth-place finishes, together with second place overall behind Kittitas, to advance in the march to state later this month.
Milo Holston, 160 pounds, Emmett Fink, 152, Trent Skelton, 120, and Meritt Fink, 138, emerged as district champions in their respective weight divisions.
Danny Humiston, 126, Kaleb Marten, 132, and Jacob McMillan, 145, nailed down third-place medals.
Danny Rodriguez and Ivan Johnson placed fourth at 113 and 152 pounds, respectively.
Also making the cut into the top six qualifiers were Jake Pennock, 138, and Stoney Hulon at 285 pounds.
“All but one match turned out about as I expected,” said coach Paul Schmekel. The unexpected outcome was an injury to Tyson Coleman, who sustained a season-ending shoulder dislocation during the first round of his 170-pound match.
Commenting on other matches, Schmekel noted that Holston and Emmett Fink had relatively light workouts for a district showdown.
“Milo pinned his first opponent in two minutes and his second in one minute so he wrestled a total of three minutes,” Schmekel said. “Emmett had only one match.”
Byes and a forfeit advanced Emmett Fink to the finals against Ben Alford of Northwest Christian, where Fink gutted out a 10-9 decision in the match of the day for the 152-pound title.
Ivan Johnson was fourth in that weight class as well.
It took a sub-minute pin and a 6-5 decision to get Meritt Fink into the 138-pound finals against Clark Rabe of NWC. Fink pinned Rabe in less than two minutes for first place. Jake Pennock finished sixth in the same weight division.
Skelton, back on the team following an injury that sidelined him early in the season, rode three byes into the 120-pound finals opposite James Monaghan of Lake Roosevelt. Following an earlier bye and two pins, Monaghan lost an 11-5 decision to Skelton.
The coach also praised the performances of Marten and Hulon.
“Kaleb is what we call our ‘dark horse,’” Schmekel said of the third-place medalist. “He wrestled really tough and I have high expectations for him.”
Hulon “had the best day of wrestling I’ve ever seen for him,” Schmekel said. “The matches he lost were really close. He was right there with those kids.”
In other Liberty Bell action, junior high wrestlers Tanner White, Reed Wengerd, Finley Holston, and Mason Johnson went to the mat for two matches each against visiting opponents from the three O’s – Okanogan, Omak and Oroville last Wednesday (Feb. 5) and emerged a perfect eight-for-eight in the win column.
The Mountain Lions’ varsity team will depart Friday morning for Kittitas, where regional competition will get underway at 4 p.m. Saturday’s round of matches will start at 10 a.m.
Northeast B Sub-Regional 2014
1. Kittitas 208.5
2. Liberty Bell 180.5
3. Lake Roosevelt 136
6. Pateros 98.5
7. Mary Walker 93.5
8. Oroville 93
9. Northwest Christian 86