By Don Nelson
Three Liberty Bell High School wrestlers will be competing at the boys’ state championships, Mat Classic XXX at the Tacoma Dome, starting on Friday (Feb. 16) and continuing through Saturday (Feb. 17).
Senior Finlay Holston (192 pounds), junior Jed McMillan (120 pounds) and freshman Bodie Paul (145) pounds will represent Liberty Bell, based on performances at the regional tournament in Kittitas last weekend. The top four finishers in each weight division at regionals advanced to the state tournament.
Holston is returning to the state meet. Last year, as the Mountain Lions’ only representative at the Mat Classic, Holston took second place in the 182-pound division.
Liberty Bell’s Shelby White competed in the girls’ regional meet last weekend in Spokane, wrestling at 130 pounds, but did not advance to state.
The Liberty Bell contingent will be given a sendoff at the school at 10 a.m. on Thursday (Feb. 15).
At the regionals, Holston faced Lake Roosevelt’s Brandon Long in the semifinals of the 195-pound division, winning with a pin at 1:23 in the match. In the finals, Holston pinned Brandon Barker of Tonasket at 4:50 in the match.
In the 120-pound division, McMillan lost to eventual champion Dawson Bretz of Tonasket in the semifinals, then took third place by pinning Luis Vazquez of Oroville at 2:14.
In the 145-pound division, Paul pinned Tyler Palmer of Lake Roosevelt just 51 seconds into their first-round match. In the semifinals, Paul pinned Gilberto Palma of White Swan in 4:24, advancing to the finals against Garrett Wilson of Tonasket. Wilson pinned Paul in 2:26, giving the Mountain Lion second place.
Liberty Bell had two wrestlers in the 170-pound division. Sophomore Magnus Treise pinned Aiden Jones of Kittitas at 4:00 of their first-round match. In the semifinals, eventual champion Slade Ginter of Pateros won a 7-2 decision over Treise. The Mountain Lion wrestler then faced Moses Luevano of Lake Roosevelt and was defeated, 7-4, and so did not place.
Liberty Bell junior Alex Garcia was pinned by Cameron Garcia of White Swan in 2:28 of their first-round match at 170 pounds. He then lost an 8-5 decision to Lake Roosevelt’s Luevano, and did not place.
In team scoring, Liberty Bell was fifth out of 11 teams with 54 points. Tonasket took first place with 334 points, followed by Lake Roosevelt, Oroville and White Swan.
At Mat Classic XXX, McMillan will get a first-round bye on Friday in the 120-pound division, then face Marcus Hamel of Life Christian in the second round.
Paul faces Caden Noha of St. John Edicott in the first round of the 145-pound division.
Holston has a first-round bye in the 195-pound division, then faces the winner of a match between Hayden Hoff of Ocosta and Collin Thomas of Kettle Falls.