Injury halts Shelby White’s run to state
Liberty Bell High School wrestler Bodie Paul dominated all three of his matches Saturday (Feb. 15) in Oroville to take the regional title and earn a berth to the Mat Classic this Friday and Saturday (Feb. 21-22) in Tacoma. Paul has a bye in the first round of matches in the 152-pound bracket.
The two other members of the boys’ wrestling team, Cody White and Noah Holston, finished one place short of a spot in the state tournament. Both qualified as alternates to state in case someone in their weight class who is slated for Tacoma can’t make the trip.
The two members of the Liberty Bell girls’ wrestling team ended a strong season with disappointing finishes in their regional tournament, held Friday and Saturday (Feb. 14-15) in Othello.
Boys’ coach Johnathan McMillan said Paul, a junior, was most impressive Saturday in his title match against Darian Range, who had the advantage of wrestling in his home gym.
“He played [the final match] out just as he had planned, getting two takedowns in the first,” McMillan said of Paul, who wrestled at 152 pounds.
Paul gave up a point to Range on an escape in the first period but led the match at the first break, 4-1. Paul went on to beat the Oroville wrestler decisively, 9-1.
“He is a good wrestler and very hard to pin,” McMillan quoted Paul as saying. “I had the match won, being up by eight points, so I wrestled smart and never gave him a chance to get back in the match.”
Cody White, a sophomore at 126 pounds, had his best outing of the season at regionals but fell short in two of his four matches, McMillan said.
After a win in his first match, White wrestled Lane Bolich of Tonasket in the semifinals. The conclusion of that match was “heartbreaking,” McMillan said.
“Being down 2 to 0 in the third, White … turned Lane for three, making it 2 to 3, but Lane got a reversal for two more in the final 10 seconds, making it 4 to 3,” McMillan said.
White won his next match to reach a final contest that would determine third and fourth place. Third place qualified for state, while fourth would be an alternate.
“Again it was a Tonasket opponent, and again it came down to the final seconds of the match,” McMillan said.
Down 2 to 1, White had to shoot for a takedown in the final 20 seconds, but his opponent countered and ended up winning, 4-1.
Despite White’s losses, McMillan said, “both matches showed great improvement on earlier-in-the-season matchups, and he did very well.”
Coming off an injury, sophomore Holston (170) won his first match but lost his next two to finish as an alternate to the state tournament.
At the girls’ regionals in Othello, senior Shelby White had her run to state derailed by injury.
After a loss and then a win in the early rounds, White faced the same wrestler from West Valley High School who had defeated her one week earlier and went on to take the district championship.
“Shelby went 110% and came out on top of a very tough 7-5 win,” coach Jason Newman said. “One more win would have put her in the third-place match and a guaranteed spot at state.”
But after that hard-fought victory, White appeared to be injured, and she had to forfeit her next match.
That put her in sixth place. The top four wrestlers advanced to state, with the fifth-place finisher serving as an alternate.
Mariah Paz, a freshman, lost two tough matches at regionals, ending her season, Newman said. Paz faced the No. 2 wrestler in the state, from Warden, and an opponent from Quincy.