All five Liberty Bell High School wrestlers advanced to regionals after placing in the top four at districts on Saturday (Feb. 8).
Noah Holston, Bodie Paul and Cody White on the boys’ team will wrestle Saturday (Feb. 15) in Oroville for berths to the state Mat Classic in Tacoma the following weekend. All three boys earned medals at the state tournament a year ago.
Both Shelby White and Mariah Paz have a shot at being Liberty Bell’s first female wrestlers to advance to state. Their regional tournament will take place Friday and Saturday (Feb. 14-15) in Othello.
Paul (152 pounds) was the standout for the boys’ team at districts, held in Tonasket. Paul pinned his first opponent, a Lake Roosevelt wrestler, in the first round. Paul won his final match 7-0 to take the district championship, coach Jonathan McMillan said.
“Never giving up a point is big in any match, and to control the district final that way was great for Paul and shows a lot of hope for what the next two weeks will bring,” McMillan said.
Cody White (126) lost a close match against a Tonasket opponent in his district semifinal, then pinned a wrestler from Pateros to earn third place and a slot on the regional bracket.
Holston (170) got a much-needed break to advance to regionals, McMillan said. Holston, who was seeded third at districts, had to bow out of one match due to injury but still managed to finish in third place, due to a lack of opponents, his coach said.
The girls’ district tournament was held over two days to accommodate wrestlers from all school classifications, from little B to big 4A. After a first-round bye, Shelby White pinned her Eisenhower High School opponent in the second round of the tournament, on Friday (Feb. 7), to advance to the district semifinals on Saturday.
All of White’s district opponents turned out to be from 4A schools. She lost her semifinal match to a West Valley wrestler who went on to take the district championship in their weight class. But White, a senior, bounced back to defeat a Moses Lake wrestler, 5-3, then pinned an opponent from Eisenhower to take third at districts, coach Jason Newman said.
Paz, a freshman, also had to wrestle the eventual district champ at her weight, losing to the 4A Wenatchee wrestler in her first match of the district tournament. On Saturday, Paz pinned a Sunnyside opponent, then pinned an Eisenhower girl who had defeated her earlier in the season, Newman said. Paz lost her final match, against Cailee Denison of Tonasket, but nonetheless finished fourth at district to earn a spot at regionals.
District action followed a season-ending meet for both boys’ and girls’ teams in Okanogan on Feb. 1.
Paul won the Okanogan tournament by defeating all three of his opponents, McMillan said. Cody White finished third in Okanogan.
On the girls’ side, Shelby White took first place at the Okanogan Invite, pinning opponents from Cashmere, Okanogan and Eastmont.
Paz won one of her three matches in Okanogan. She finished strong by defeating a wrestler from Brewster High School, Newman said.