File photo by Don Nelson
Finlay Holston (in green) competing earlier this year: the Liberty Bell junior was the only Mountain Lion competitor at the Mat Classic last weekend.

By Don Nelson

Liberty Bell High School junior Finlay Holston took second place in the 182-pound division in 1B/2B competition at the Mat Classic XXIX statewide meet last weekend.

Holston, the Mountain Lions’ only competitor in this year’s state meet, won his first match on Friday (Feb. 17) by pinning Mason Payne of Reardan in 5:37. He then defeated Matthew Haynes of Kalama, 4-1, moving into the semi-finals.

There, Holston defeated Joe Adams of Waitsburg-Prescott, 6-1. That moved Holston into Saturday’s championship match against Luke Peebles of Kittitas.

Last year, Peebles took third place in the 170-pound division. He came into this year’s 182-pound finals match after a bye, a 15-0 win and a pin in 1:03 against his semifinal opponent. The Kittitas senior’s experience paid off as he pinned Holston in 4:18.

In team competition under first-year coach Jonathan McMillan, Liberty Bell finished 23rd among 43 teams with 20 points. Tonasket, last year’s second-place finisher, won the team competition with 184.5 points, followed by Reardan with 141. Among other north central Washington teams, only Lake Roosevelt finished ahead of Liberty Bell, with 59 points for a ninth-place finish.

Last year, Liberty Bell finished 14th overall in the 1B/2B division with 38 points. The previous year the Mountain Lions tied for third place; the two years before that they were state champions.

Mountain Lions Tanner White (138 pounds) and Jed McMillan had been named alternatives for Liberty Bell but did not compete in the state meet. Magnus Treise (152 pounds), Caleb Simpson (160 pounds) and Alex Garcia-Lopez (170 pounds) all competed for Liberty Bell in the regional tournament.