Survive and advance is the mantra at this time of year in high school sports, and that is where three Mountain Lion wrestlers are after the first week of post-season state qualifiers.
Freshman Cassidy Jones-Mowen, and seniors Noah Holston and Cody White, all advanced to this weekend’s regional tournaments where qualifiers for the 2022 WIAA State Mat Classic will be determined. Jones-Mowen will head for Ephrata High School, Holston and White will travel to Othello for those regional meets.
Liberty Bell’s sole female wrestler, Jones-Mowen, took the northern Palouse by surprise on Saturday (Feb. 5), claiming the 135-pound girls’ all-classes district title at Liberty High School in Spangle. Holston (195 pounds) and White (145 pounds) brought home second-place ribbons from their District 6 2B meet at Tonasket High School. Because of lower turnout numbers statewide, high school girls in Washington wrestle in a single division and not according to school size.
Jones-Mowen entered the tournament as the No. 2 seed among the 12 qualifiers, receiving a first-round bye. In the quarterfinals, she faced No. 7 Diamond Van Cleve (freshman, Othello), pinning her at 1:28 in the match’s first round, following that with a major decision 14-6 victory in the semi-final round over Royal’s Jaiden Hill, the No. 3 seed. In the final, she faced No. 5 Anna Hume, a sophomore from Kettle Falls. Hume’s pathway to the title match included an upset 9-2 win over No. 1 seed Angela Santiago of Wahluke in the semi-final.
Jones-Mowen was in charge from the start, taking the final with a pin of Hume at 3:26, in the second round.
White’s route to the final at Tonasket started with a quarterfinal bye as the No. 2 seed. In the semi-final, he pinned Lake Roosevelt’s Christian Carson at 1:25 in the first round, setting him for the title bout with Tonasket’s Tony Sanabria.
Sanabria entered the tournament with a season record of 24-4, White at 14-5. In a battle for the three 2-minute rounds, Sanabria outlasted White for a hard earned 5-1 decision.
Holston wrestled only once on the day, pinning Tonasket’s David Nunez 55 seconds into the match, then withdrawing from the final, Granger Sutton of Tonasket winning the district title. Both Mountain Lions will advance to the regional with their second-place finishes.
Coach Joe Downing said that Holston’s withdrawal from the final at Tonasket was precautionary in nature, protecting him from possible injury since he was already qualified for the regional meet. “We are moving forward with a take-no-chances approach to regionals and state. Noah feels good and wants to make sure he is healthy for state,” the coach said.